honors graduate Ioane Vaioli happily shimmied up the stage to accept his Youth of the Year award from the Boys & Girls Clubs of North San Mateo County, graciously thanking the club and calling it his "second home" in front of about 160 people at the Thursday night.
"I couldn't get to where I am without the Boys & Girls Club," eighteen-year-old Vaioli said as he credited the club for the mentors who helped him with his schoolwork and fostered his creativity to discover his passion for music in the seven years he had been a member.
Vaioli is the only student from the high school category among seven other elementary and middle school award recipients recognized as exemplary youth by the Boys & Girls Clubs of North San Mateo County at the First Annual Youth of the Year Award ceremony.
Vaioli, currently a Skyline College student, also won a full college scholarship from the South San Francisco Rotary Club. The high school category is the only award that requires an application process.
Other awardees were nominated by Boys & Girls Club staff by class level from each of the five clubhouse locations: South San Francisco, Paradise Valley, Sunshine Gardens Elementary School, Pacifica Club and Ingrid B. Lacy Middle School.
The three criteria for nomination include active membership with the club for at least one year, leadership and contributing to the community, according to Sharon Dolan, executive director.
"I won, for what?" said eight-year-old third grader Sofia Trinidad from Buri Buri Elementary School, describing her immediate action to winning the award.
When asked what Trinidad's favorite thing was about the Boys & Girls Club, she said "everything." Trinidad's mom is very proud of her.
The event opened with a video presentation of students describing their experience with the Boys & Girls Clubs that echoed the sentiment of the night: friendship, community and growth.
A violin solo by elementary student Ian Pulumbrait and an uplifting rendition of Bruno Mars’s “It Will Rain” accompanied by an electric ukulele performance by Jerin Oca showcased a slice of the creative talents of the members of the club.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of North San Mateo County helps school youth from six to 18 years old to build futures with after-school arts, recreation, tutoring and computer training programs.