Youth Excellence and Achievement Award (YEA! Award)

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. The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) presents the awards at a Board meeting each spring. 


The online nomination process for the 2022 YEA! Awards is now closed. The nomination process will reopen in February 2023 for next year's awards.

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 - demonstrating positive impact on others in an ongoing endeavor, such as sports, academics, or the arts
  • Success Despite Difficult Odds - overcoming tremendous personal difficulty to attain success and to make a positive impact on others
  • Volunteer or Community Service - allocating discretionary time to help others or complete a project that has improved our community

2021 Award Winners

The Board of County Commissioners presented the 2021 Youth Excellence and Achievement Awards (YEA! Awards) to these six outstanding young people:

Success Despite Difficult Odds

  • Titus Thien Nguyen, Burns Middle School
  • Jade Athina Stafford, Armwood High School


  • Afton Kinkade, Stewart Middle Magnet School
  • Shanya Luke, Lennard High School

Volunteer or Community Service

  • Haili Smith, Farnell Middle School
  • Nicholas Michelini, Town and Country Christian Academy

Watch the 2021 YEA! Awards presentation ceremony to learn more about the 2021 YEA! winners.