Boys & Girls Clubs of North Carolina

NC Youth of the Year

Aleigha Edwards: 2014 North Carolina Youth of the Year

Youth of the YearAleigha Edwards of Hendersonville, NC, has been a member of the Boys & Girls Club of Henderson County since she was in kindergarten. Now a senior in high school, she participated in nearly every program and activity the Club had to offer over the years. She is currently an employee of the club, having earned a paid position as a junior staff.

Aleigha and her older brother are two of her father's six children. From an early age, Aleigha knew that as the youngest she had a lot of pressure to be successful. She grew up babysitting for nieces and nephews so her older siblings could work or just get a break, and she was constantly reminded that life is harder when you do things alone and without a plan. She has been planning ever since.

At school, she is a member of the National Honor Society and has been accepted to three NC universities and hopes to attend UNC-Chapel Hill in the fall to study nursing or elementary education. Academically, she has elected to take Honors and Advanced Placement courses throughout her high school career to help herself be ready for a rigorous college curriculum. Her weighted GPA is 4.5238, ranking her 15th of 175 students in her class. She has made studying and being successful scholastically a priority. Initially interested in a medically-related career, Aleigha earned straight A's in the Allied Health course series. At this point she knows that she ultimately wants to work with children, but is no longer sure exactly how. Therefore, she decided to do a senior academic internship at the Honors level at a local elementary school volunteering weekly with little kids to give her a year of exploring teaching.

In addition to handling a rigorous course schedule, Aleigha has been involved in a wide array of extracurricular activities. Since 10th grade she has been a football cheerleader. She is active with HOSA, the health occupations club, where she helps raise money for medically-related charities and helps with community health events. As an NHS member, Aleigha does a minimum of 20 hours per year in tutoring and other community service projects. This year Aleigha was selected to be in HHS's elite Leadership Student Government class. The leadership students, carefully selected for their strong character, are in charge of every assembly and special activity at her school.

Finally, Aleigha's main extracurricular activity has been with Keystone Club at the Boys and Girls Club. As a member of the Keystone Club, Aleigha helps younger students with after-school activities and homework, and this year she has the responsibility of leading the group as its President.

In setting the goal to be successful in Honors and AP classes and worthwhile activities in order to go on to college and a career working with children, Aleigha had to give up certain friendships and choose to be "uncool" in the eyes of many peers. She values doing the right thing and setting positive life goals above outward appearances. Aleigha chooses to be a positive role model, not the follower of bad influences. All signs point toward her being successful, not just in college, but in life.