On February 26, Aries Cooper was announced as the 2019 Youth of the Year by Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County. The announcement came at the organization’s Youth of the Year celebration dinner held at Grove restaurant in Lakewood Ranch. The Youth of the Year title is awarded to an outstanding young person in recognition of their leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to live a healthy lifestyle. For 72 years, the Youth of the Year program has honored our nation’s most outstanding young people on their path to great futures. Aries was awarded a $2,500 scholarship and will compete for the Florida Youth of the Year title and a $5,000 college scholarship from Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

“Aries has evolved into a confident, caring, encouraging and dependable leader,” said Dawn Stanhope, President/CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County. “We’re delighted to have her representing our organization.”

Cooper, a senior at Bayshore High School, has a 3.5 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society. Her future plans include attending the University of South Florida or Lynn University for psychology and, one day, becoming a clinical psychologist. Aries, a member of the DeSoto Boys & Girls Club, began her Club experience 6 years ago as a middle school student. She credits the Club for building her confidence, encouraging her to grow and igniting her passion to serve others through volunteering.

The Youth of the Year celebration dinner and the scholarships awarded to Aries and the two runner-ups ($1,000 each) were supported by sponsorships from NDC Construction Company, the Pittsburgh Pirates, BDE Florida-Taco Bell, Manasota Flooring Inc., Manson Roofing Inc., Refheldt Group CPAs and LECOM.

If Aries wins the state competition taking place in April in Fort Walton Beach, she will compete for the title of Southeast Region Youth of the Year and an additional $10,000 college scholarship, renewable for four years up to $40,000. Five regional winners will advance to Washington, D.C. in September 2019, to compete for the title of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year. The National Youth of the Year will receive an additional scholarship of $25,000, renewable each year up to $100,000.

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