Youth of the Year Award Winner
Wellingtonton's Alonza Lloyd Honored
by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County
Resilient, determined, passionate and a true leader. These adjectives accurately describe 18-year-old Wellington resident Alonza Lloyd, who was named Youth of the Year by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County earlier this year.
During a banquet dinner at the Hilton West Palm Beach, Lloyd was honored with the organization's highest award for club members. It was an evening that he will remember as one of the most pivotal and impactful moments of his young life.
Lloyd, 18, a member of Wellington's Neil S. Hirsch Family Boy & Girls Club, is a great example of how the Boy & Girls Club experience can help young people learn valuable life lessons and reach their full potential.
Lloyd, a 2023 graduate of Palm Beach Central High School, was named the Palm Beach County winner after several rounds of essays, interviews and speeches. All seven Palm Beach County finalists received a four-year Florida Prepaid College Scholarship, while Lloyd also received a four-year university scholarship with room and board from the Mary Alice Fortin Foundation.
In addition to honoring Lloyd as the overall winner of the 2023 Youth of the Year Award, Coke Florida presented all the finalists with new Chromebook laptops. The finalists were also given brand-new tablets courtesy of the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation and K12 Print.
In addition to Lloyd, the 2023 finalists also included Kelvin Rolle from the Florence De George Boy & Girls Club of West Palm Beach, Kimberly Pierre from the Marjorie S. Fisher Boy & Girls Club of West Palm Beach, Eric Wilson from the Max M. Fisher Boy & Girls Club of Rivera Beach, Frank Zamor from the Boy & Girls Club of Delray Beach, Lynnshelsie Antoine from the Boy & Girls Club of Boca Raton and Jada lovely from Smith & Moore Family Teen Center of Belle Glade.
The seven finalists were selected to represent their Boy & Girls Club location after preliminary competition that included a comprehensive application three essays, three letters of recommendation and an interview in front of a panel of judges. The three minute speeches were presented live at the awards dinner at the Hilton. The speeches were the final scoring factor used to determine the overall winner of the ninth annual Palm Beach County Youth of the Year Award.
By winning the award, Lloyd earned the right to compete for Florida Alliance of Boy & Girls Clubs Youth of the Year Award.
“The Youth of the Year Award dinner is the Boy & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County’s mission-defining moment, and it is our most cherished occasion.” said Jaene Miranda, president and CEO of the Boy & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County. “Were it not for the devoted staff and premier programs, many of our teenage members would never have the encouragement to graduate from high school on time with a plan for the future.”
Miranda said that Lloyd is a very deserving recipient of this recent honor.
“From the first moment I met him, I could tell that he's a very special person,” Miranda said. “He has been very involved in his local club in Wellington. He spoke about his ability to connect with an audience. Clearly, he speaks from the heart, and he has a very positive outlook on life. He's determined to fulfill his dreams.”
As the Palm Beach County representative, Lloyd advanced to the Florida statewide competition held in Port St. Lucie. In that statewide competition which featured more than 30 other finalists, Lloyd finished second.
The key part of that program was Lloyd's speech, where he began by stating that “the most beautiful things in this world cannot be heard or seen or even touched, for they must be felt through the heart.” Lloyd knows a little bit about the value of “heart,” since he was born with a congenital heart condition known as Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF). He required two heart operations, although he is now in good health.
“I had one operation at six months and another one when I was 10, but I have been cleared to play sports and workout at the gym since I have been 13,” Lloyd said. “I feel great now with lots of energy.”
Lloyd's presence at the Neil S. Hirsch Family Boy & Girls Club has impacted both the staff and the other club members.
According to Anthony Davis, Sr., the director of operations at the Wellington facility, Lloyd is an example of how the Boy & Girls Club can influence academic success, character, leadership, and healthy lifestyles.
“Alonso has made an amazing transition from his sophomore year to his senior year of high school,” Davis said. He is now a paid part of our staff and he's mentoring, counseling and providing guidance to 5- to 12-year olds.”
As a result of being named one of the top Florida winners, Lloyd was one of nearly 50 students from Boy & Girls Clubs throughout the United States who were given an all-expense paid trip to Italy from July 9 through July 17. There, they participated in group discussions geared at building better relationships, being a better person and learning how to respect others.
Lloyd is now focused on college. He is currently enrolled at Florida International University in Miami, where he plans to major in biological sciences. If he continues being a true leader who is resilient, determined and passionate, his life will continue to be positively influenced by many more pivotal and impactful moments.