Local teen receives state award

April 25, 2011

By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer

Being named the Boys & Girls Clubs’ statewide Youth of the Year was a big deal for Kenya Moore, but she thinks it is as big of an accomplishment — if not a bigger one — for the local club that she attends.

A sophomore at Martinsville High School, Moore regularly visits the club’s Teen Center off Spruce Street Extension after school. She won the regional Youth of the Year award before she received the statewide award during a Boys & Girls Clubs conference earlier this month in Richmond.

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling presented Moore the award.

“I was so excited” to receive the statewide award, she said, because “our Boys & Girls Club has never gone this far before” in competition.

Moore was chosen from a field of 17 candidates around Virginia after she submitted essays on what the Boys & Girls Club means to her and the importance of pursuing higher education.

As a member of the club, she said, “I have a place to go after school that is safe and has caring adults” who are willing to spend time with her, as well as mentor her “so I can become a better person.”

The club has helped Moore acquire teamwork skills and provided her help with homework that has “given me more confidence in school,” said Moore, the daughter of Carolyn Moore.

Also, at the club, “I can learn things I normally wouldn’t at school,” she said, “in a different type of environment where I’m not just sitting behind a desk.”

Club employees “make it fun” to learn new things, such as by combining learning with songs and games instead of reading from books, she said.

For instance, Moore said taking part in club activities has enabled her to learn how to make omelets and beds properly.

Her tip for making a delicious omelet: When beating the eggs, stir in a little milk to make them fluffier.

She found it hard to expound on how to appropriately make a bed — it is something better shown than explained, she said.

As part of her award, Moore received a plaque and a $1,000 scholarship, and she will receive mentoring in public speaking, which she enjoys.

“It’s a thrill ... I can’t get in normal conversation,” she said.

Recognizing that many people feel uneasy speaking in front of large groups, she offered this tip: Look past people in the audience and “just think about saying it (a speech) to whoever wants to listen.”

Laurie Wardle, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Blue Ridge, said Moore is an enthusiastic girl who is endearing to people she meets.

She is “a very bright, articulate young lady with a shiny personality” who has “overcome a lot of hard circumstances” in life, Wardle said. “It has been an honor and a privilege to watch her grow and mature.”

Moore stays busy. Along with attending the club, she takes karate lessons and has a black belt in the martial art. At school, she plays the tuba in the concert and marching bands, and she is a member of the Key Club, National Society of Black Engineers and other groups.

After she graduates, she wants to attend either Virginia Tech or N.C. A&T State University and double major in aerospace engineering and music.

“Everyone tells me that’s a really odd combination,” she said with a laugh, yet she is greatly interested in both.

Although she would enjoy being a professional musician, she said, her heart is in engineering. She is fascinated by aerodynamics, such as how air moves across vehicles, as well as how planes fly, especially during takeoffs.

Moore said she would like to become a pilot someday. But with all of the things she is involved in, she said she probably could not find the time to study for a pilot’s license anytime soon.

She is able to be a member of the Boys & Girls Club until she graduates. But she does not have to quit being associated with it then — she could become an employee or serve as an adult mentor through the club, and she plans to do so, she said.


Select News Year: