Kaitlyn Huertas, Branson Wilson, Gabby Valdez, and Stephan Riner have been recognized as Youths of the Month at the Boys and Girls Club of Morristown.
Sponsored annually by the Kiwanis Club of Morristown, the program recognizes members based on their attendance, participation, attitude, accomplishments, behavior, and sportsmanship.
Kaitlyn Huertas, age 16, is the daughter of Jamie Keaton and Jason Huertas. Kaitlyn has been a club member for eight years and has two siblings that are also club members, Jade (age 14) and Alex (age 12). She enjoys listening to music and spending time with her friends in her free time.
While at the club, Kaitlyn is very active and has participated in many of the club’s programs, special activities, and events including Keystone Club (leadership club for 14-18 year olds), Young Women of Distinction (life-readiness program for high school girls), Head of the Class (after school tutoring and homework), gamesroom activities, Torch Club (leadership club for ages 11-13), Junior Leaders (leadership club for 9-10 year olds), VIPs (club for ages 7-8), Teen Supreme Center, Super Auction Volunteer, Choosing the Best Path/Life (decision making classes for middle school and high school members), basketball, Steak and Burger Dinner, S m a r t M ove s , Sharky 500 Vo l u n t e e r, Swim Team and singing and dancing.
K a i t l y n was also the proud winner of the Junior Youth of the Year Award several years ago and works as a junior staff at the club as needed. She said that her winning the Junior Youth of the Year Award was her proudest moment at the club so far.
Kaitlyn is currently a sophomore at Morristown West High School, where her favorite teacher is Ms. Murphy. She loves math, and her favorite class is Algebra 2. She is a member of the FCCLA and is an honor roll student. She also recently began volunteering at the local animal shelter. Kaitlyn has goals to work at the Boys and Girls Club as a career when she is older. Kaitlyn’s most memorable school experience has been participating in the FCCLA.
“The club is like a family to me. It is a positive place that prevents me from getting caught up with things in my community and all of the staff members are so supportive,” Kaitlyn said. She wanted to thank her mom, dad, grandparents, Gene W h a l ey, John Seals, and Bill and Brenda Seals for being such an important part of her life.
Branson Wilson, age 18, is the son of Brandi and Larry Osborne and been a club member for 11 years. Branson has one sister, Asyana, who is also a club member. In his free time, Branson enjoys singing, playing piano and drums, and basketball.
Throughout the years, Branson has participated in many of the clubs programs and daily activities including TeenSupreme Center, Steak and Burger Dinners, Young Men of Distinction (life readiness program for high school boys), all gym activities, performing arts, singing and dancing, Head of the Class (after-school homework and tutoring), Technology Classes, games room events, senior basketball team, as well as trips to Smokies baseball games. Branson first received Youth of the Month when he was 7 years of age and attributes that as his favorite club moment so far.
Branson is currently a senior at Morristown East High School. Branson plays f o o t b a l l , participates on the track and field team, FCA, FCCL A and the A d va n c e d Choir where he is the vice p r e s i d e n t . Branson is currently making all As and Bs and is trying to finish his senior year strong. Branson enjoys math and his favorite teacher is Mr. Dempster. Branson’s favorite school moment thus far has been being selected as class president his Freshman year in school. Branson also plays basketball for the Parks and Recreation in Hamblen County.
Branson plans on attending ETSU in the fall. After college, Branson has several interests including producing music or becoming an electrician.
“I see a lot of what the teenagers get in trouble with out on the street. The club keeps me thinking positive about life because it’s a positive place.” Branson said.
He wanted to thank his parents, grandma, aunt and great uncle for helping him and being important parts of his life.
Gabby Valdez, age 18, is the daughter of Eva Valdez and Carlos Romero. She has a big family including five sisters (Nadia, Crystal, Gisselle, Jocy, and Alianna) and two b r o t h e r s (J.J. and Giovanni). Gabby has been a club member for two years. Her hobbies i n c l u d e r e a d i n g , Razkids, and playing with siblings.
Gabby has been active in the club’s programs and activities since her first day there. She participates in VIPs (leadership club for 7-8 year olds), technology classes, games room challenges, basketball, soccer, performing arts room, Kidzlit (literature based book club), arts and crafts, swimming, including swimming lessons, and she loves helping do anything at the club. Gabby’s favorite activity is playing Fox & Chicken in the gym.
Gabby said that getting selected for Youth of the Month is her favorite club moment.
Gabby is currently in the 3rd grade at Lincoln Heights Elementary. She enjoys math and her favorite teacher is Mrs. Pennala. Gabby’s favorite school moment is getting As and Bs this year in school. Gabby also regularly attends First Baptist Church.
“The club helps me with my homework,” Gabby said. “I get so tired when I am at school but the club is fun.” Gabby’s role model in life is her big sister Nadia who was selected as Tennessee Youth of the Year two years ago and currently attends the University of Tennessee. She also wanted to thank her mom, dad, and siblings for being a big part of her life. She hopes to become a veterinarian when she grows up.
Stephan Riner, age 12, is the son of Stephanie Alvarado and Carlos Alvarado. Stephan has been a club member for three years and has three brothers (Ezequiel, Carlitos and Anderson) and one sister (Eliana). He loves sports including football, soccer, and basketball.
Stephan is currently in the 6th grade at Lincoln Middle School. He is on the school football team, FCA, and is also part of the Lincoln Heights Band. Stephan enjoys social studies and his favorite teacher is Mrs. Sudbrink. His favorite school moment is getting straight As on his report card. In the community, he plays Upward Basketball.
Stephan participates in many of the club’s programs, special activities and events including basketball, games room activities, gym events, Drama Matters (acting and drama class), singing and dancing, performing arts room, and Head of the Class. Stephan has also been on a trip at a Smokies Game in years past. His favorite area of the club is the gym but his overall favorite activity to do at the club is playing carpet pool and bumper pool.
Getting selected at Youth of the Month is Stephan’s favorite club moment thus far. “I get to spend time with my friends and family and I get help with my homework.” Stephan said. Stephan hopes to become a mechanical engineer as an adult. He also wanted to thank those who have been important in his life, which include his Grandpa and Grandma Riner, Grandpa Rider, mom and stepdad. As a result of being named Youths of the Month, all selected members have qualified for Youth of the Year honors.