03/26/08 — Shaw named Youth of the Year by Boys and Girls Club

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Shaw named Youth of the Year by Boys and Girls Club

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on March 26, 2008 1:51 PM

Ryquia Shaw has been named the 2008 Youth of the Year by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Wayne County and will now compete for the state honor against 36 other young people in Raleigh on April 3-4.

Ryquia, 14, was chosen, judges said because of her outstanding contributions to family, school, the club and her community.

Being named Youth of the Year is the highest honor a Boys & Girls Club member can receive. The honor recognizes not only achievement but the ability to overcome obstacles in life.

Club officials described Ryquia as outgoing and willing to help out in any way she is asked. She resists peer pressure well, they said, and strongly believes in doing the right thing no matter what the circumstances.

This past summer, Ryquia started attending Wayne Early Middle College High School on the campus of Wayne Community College. Class hours were long, from mid-morning until almost 5 p.m.

She had been an very active at the Paley Unit on Royall Avenue for 8 years and had many friends who now did not understand why she didn't come around any more.

"They thought I wasn't coming because I didn't want to be with them," she said.

But she knew what she had to do to get where she wants to be -- a defense lawyer. And she pressed on, maintaining a 3.25 grade point average at her new school.

"I said, 'No. I have classes.' During the summer, the club closes at 4 p.m., and when I get out of class, they're closed. They understand now. I had to explain the schedule and what I have to do when I go home."

To get ahead of the learning curve in her computer information systems class, she works on the computer at home. Then, she starts dinner for her twin brother, Alexander Rickey Shaw, and her 11-year-old sister, Alexus Davis.

Mary Ann Dudley, the executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Wayne County, called Ryquia an "extraordinary young woman." She calls her Alexandra, which is her first name.

"Alexandra is a hard working young lady with high moral standards and has set goals beyond secondary education," Mrs. Dudley said. "She is highly regarded among her peers at the club, school and community."

Ryquia was president of the Paley Unit's Key Club last year. The club made $1,200 to cover expenses for several members to attend national competition.

Born Alexandra Ryquia Shaw, the teenager is dependable beyond her years, says her mother, Lakisha Davis.

"But she's debatable, too," her mother said.

And the family believes that's why she will make a fine lawyer.

The Youth of the Year is a national program founded 60 years ago by The Reader's Digest Foundation.

If Ryquia wins the state competition, she will be awarded a $1,000 scholarship from Reader's Digest and another $10,000 scholarship from the North Carolina Boys & Girls Club Area Council.

The state winner goes on to compete for the title of Southeast Region Youth of the Year and another $10,000 scholarship.

Then, five regional winners will advance to Washington, D.C., in September to compete for the title of National Youth of the Year. The National Youth of the Year receives an additional $15,000 college scholarship and is installed by the president in ceremony at the White House.