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College dreams come true for three outstanding Boys & Girls Club Teens

MILWAUKEE - What do a girl from New Mexico, a boy from Kansas and a girl from Germany all have in common? These three teens from various Boys & Girls Clubs across the world have all received the opportunity of a lifetime – four-year, full tuition scholarships from Marquette University. Marquette partnered with Boys & Girls Clubs of America last year to offer scholarships to Club teens who have been selected as Youth of the Year winners.

Being named Youth of the Year is the highest honor bestowed on a Boys & Girls Club member. The title recognizes outstanding contributions to a young person’s family, school, community and Boys & Girls Club, as well as personal challenges and obstacles overcome. Applicants for the Marquette scholarships must also have met the university’s admission criteria.

The inaugural class of Marquette/Youth of the Year scholarship winners, all age 18, are: Tamara Johnson, Pueblo of Pojoaque Boys & Girls Club (Albuquerque, N.M.), and Ryan Allen, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City Wyandoth County Unit (Kansas City, Kan..) – both who were Youth of the Year at the local level – and Amaya Hamilton, Ramstein Youth Programs (Ramstein AFB, Germany), who is the 2010-11 Youth of the Year for all of Europe. “We are extremely grateful to Marquette University for recognizing the accomplishments of Tamara, Ryan and Amaya,” said BGCA President and CEO Roxanne Spillett. “We know they will do Marquette, their local Clubs, families and Boys & Girls Clubs of America very proud.”

Marquette President Robert A. Wild, S.J., praised the Youth of the Year winners for their academic and leadership success and their service to their Clubs and communities. “These young adults are already demonstrating what it means to ‘Be the Difference,’” he said. “We are looking forward to having them join our Marquette family and inspiring those who follow them in their Clubs to pursue a college education. We hope that this partnership will grow to involve more students across the country, supporting Marquette’s long tradition of educational access.”

Each scholarship, renewable for four years, is valued at more than $120,000. The national partnership between the university and Boys & Girls Clubs of America had its roots in a local partnership. When Marquette University created an Urban Scholarship program several years ago, two of the 10 annual, full-tuition scholarships were designated for members of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee.

In fact, a recipient of a 2010 Urban Scholarship, Tommy Walls of Milwaukee, Wis., is one of five finalists for BGCA’s National Youth of the Year title for 2010. Walls, originally from Detroit, was first named Youth of the Year for the Mary Ryan Boys & Girls Club in Milwaukee, then named Youth of the Year for the Greater Milwaukee organization, the State of Wisconsin and BGCA’s Midwest Region. The National Youth of the Year winner will be named next month. As an Urban Scholarship winner, Walls will receive a full-tuition scholarship from Marquette.

Two other Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year winners will also attend Marquette this year. They are: Allyson Aderman from Menominee, Mich., who received an Ignatius Scholarship, and Arisbet Escalante from Hill City, S.D., the recipient of a Magis Award.

Miami HEAT and former Marquette basketball star Dwyane Wade will be in Milwaukee Aug. 30 to welcome the Youth of the Year winners to Marquette. Wade, through the Wade’s World Foundation, provides support to community-based organizations that promote education, health and social skills for children in at-risk situations.

Meet the Scholarship Recipients

Tamara Johnson – A nine-year member of Pueblo of Pojoaque Boys & Girls Club, Johnson is very active in her Club and her community. At the Club, she is president of the Keystone Club, a teen group that focuses on leadership and community service. Under her leadership, the Keystone Club raised more than $2,200 for the Haiti Relief Fund. Johnson has also volunteered to ride on the back of a fire truck to help “Santa Claus” pass out toys to needy children during the holidays. As a Junior Staffer at the Club, she demonstrates superior leadership qualities to the younger Club members.

One of Johnson’s biggest accomplishments related to the Club was being named the 2010-11 National Money Matters Ambassador for Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The Money Matters program was created to promote financial literacy among teens by building basic money management skills. As Ambassador, Johnson attends various events to speak about the importance of financial education for teens.

Johnson, a recent high school graduate, was a six-year member of the National Honor Society and served as student body president and as an attorney for the Mock Trial team. A recent graduate, she plans to major in pre-law at Marquette.

Ryan Allen – Enrolling in the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City 10 years ago, Allen says, was one of the best decisions made for his life. Growing up in a single-parent household with his mom and younger sister, he stepped up to be a big help to his mom in raising his younger sister. Allen made a conscious decision to avoid going down the wrong path as many did in his inner-city neighborhood. He even helped his friends get back on track when they strayed.

Allen contributes much of his success in making the right choices to his Boys & Girls Club. As a younger member he joined Torch Club and then joined Keystone as a teenager, where he served as secretary for the group. He’s been an active participant in the Clubs’ Passport to Manhood program, which teaches young men how to grow up to be honest, dependable and respectable. For two years, Allen has participated in the national African-American Male Teen Summit, a conference geared toward this population of Club members.

Before his recent high school graduation, Allen participated in basketball, track and choir. While attending Marquette, he will pursue a degree in business.

Amaya Hamilton – Many face war and trouble, but Hamilton has faced soldiers, loss, deployment and movement. The oldest of three, she is the daughter of military parents. Living as a military child has forced her to face seven new schools, three new countries, two new languages and leaving behind the support and interaction with extended family back in the U.S. Yet, it is through her emitted family’s close-knit relationship and strong commitment to each other that she is able to get through it all.

Hamilton has been a Boys & Girls Club member on military bases for 11 years. Now a member of Ramstein Youth Programs, she has been involved in various Club activities and programs. She helped with Power Hour, which tutors younger Club members when doing homework, and participated in various sports activities. She currently serves as the vice president of the Keystone Club. Hamilton worked to establish the first chartered Torch Club at Ramstein, which is similar to Keystone but geared toward younger members.

In the community, Hamilton has organized holiday events for families and helped collect over 300 pounds of clothing for the needy. She mentors younger children coping with the absence of parents, deployment and multiple household moves. She has helped raise money for the “Malaria No More” campaign to end malaria in Africa. Her service to the community earned her the United States Air Force in Europe’s Hidden Hero award at the early age of 14.

A graduate of Ramstein American High School, Hamilton has excelled academically and socially. She completed several AP classes with a 3.6 GPA, participated in the Model UN program, Spanish Honor Society, Spanish Immersion Program and Dance Team. At Marquette, Hamilton will pursue a bachelor’s degree in political science, with a goal of becoming a Foreign Service Officer.

Office of Marketing and Communication Contact:
Mary Pat Pfeil
Senior Director of University Communication
(414) 288-4719


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