The Board of County Commissioners created the YEA! Awards in 2010 to recognize Hillsborough County students for making a difference in their community. The award recipients show initiative, innovation, and commitment to themselves and others, while pursuing excellence in a leadership capacity. This can be demonstrated in academics, community service, athletics, performing arts, conservation, or other areas.
All students who live in Hillsborough County are eligible for the YEA! Awards, whether they attend public or private schools, or are home-schooled. The Hillsborough County Commission on the Status of Women reviews the nominations and selects six winners, three from high school and three from middle school, in one of three categories:
- Leadership - This award recognizes one middle school student and one high school student who have demonstrated 21st Century skills including: critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity in how they led others academically, in extracurricular programs, or in service to the community. The nomination should demonstrate how they engaged others in sparking positive change or creating a positive impact.
- Success Despite the Odds - This award recognizes one middle school student and one high school student who have persevered through challenges to make a positive impact on others. Please note that all nominations will be promoted to the general public so the student and family should be comfortable with the level of details provided.
- Volunteer or Community Service - This award recognizes one middle school student and one high school student who has dedicated substantial time to serving their community. The nomination should describe how their efforts have created sustainable change for others.
2022 Award Winners
The Board of County Commissioners presented the 2022 Youth Excellence and Achievement Awards (YEA! Awards) to these six outstanding young people:
Success Despite Difficult Odds
- Jae'Shaun Santos, Franklin Boys Preparatory School
- Kevin Ibarias Nanez, Sumner High School
- Brenna McGuire, Tinker Middle School
- Ashton Kitchiner, Newsome High School
Volunteer or Community Service
- Benjamin Mallin, Coleman Middle School
- Emily Moore-Shrieves, Bloomingdale High School