Sandusky teen is named BGCNEO’s Youth of the Year

Samarion Newell, a Sandusky High School senior and a Club member since the age of 12, was named Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio’s 2023 Youth of the Year in last night’s competition.

Samarion, 18, a multiple-sport athlete who plans to study finance in college, now moves on to state competition in April. Samarion, a member of the Student Council, National Honor Society, United Black Students and Business Professionals of America, also received a $5,000 scholarship.

“I am so excited – not everyone gets such an opportunity and I intend to make the most of it,” he said.

Finishing second and receiving a $3,000 scholarship was Taylyn Banta, 15, a freshman at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, where she sports a 3.9 grade point average and plays junior varsity and varsity basketball. Third-place finisher and the winner of a $2,000 scholarship was Mathew Breban, 17, a Lorain High School senior who is originally from Puerto Rico and plays varsity baseball.

The Youth of the Year competition is one of the Club’s signature programs and is open to all members ages 14-18 who meet academic standards and are involved in community and Club activities.

.Through the Youth of the Year program, young people showcase their talents and achievements, share their hopes and dreams, and work toward a bright and positive future. Candidates emerge through year-round recognition programs in their local Clubs, progressing through state and regional events, culminating in a weeklong celebration in Washington, D.C., where one is named the National Youth of the Year – the highest honor bestowed upon a Club member.

The BGCNEO competition took place last night at Equity Trust in Westlake. Youth of the Year judges were Mark Ballard, a BGCNEO board member, Shcarra Benn and Rajzia Whitley, executive assistant to Cleveland Ward 7 Councilwoman Stephanie D. Howse.

Boys & Girls Clubs provide safe, fun places for kids ages 6-18 after school. Clubs focus on healthy lifestyles, academic success and character development. BGCNEO, which was formed by the 2019 merger of Clubs in Cleveland, Akron, Lorain County and Sandusky, now has 50 locations in five counties.