Superman does not have to wear blue tights and a red cape; he may just take the shape of a 17-year-old like Brenten Wilcher. The Rockdale County High School senior towers over 6 feet and his accomplishments are even bigger.
The Barksdale Boys and Girls Club in Conyers chose Brenten to represent them in the 2013 Youth of the Year competition. The competition is held between 25 Boys and Girls Clubs in the Metro Atlanta area and each division chooses one outstanding teen who demonstrates maturity, leadership and hard work to represent in the annual contest.
Each competitor has already passed a community board, written nine reflective essays, and is prepared to deliver a speech discussing how The Boys and Girls Club have affected their lives. On Oct. 19 at the Draper Boys and Girls Club in College Park, a preliminary presentation of the speeches will take place at 8:15 a.m. after breakfast at 7:45 a.m. However, the first, second and third place winners will be announced on Nov. 7 and awarded scholarships at a fundraiser dinner at the Marriot Marquis in downtown Atlanta.
Brenten has been preparing for his speech since August and it reveals the hardships he had to overcome at the age of six, dealing with the divorce of his parents and not having a permanent residence.
"I felt like I had no one to talk to and no sense of belonging," said Brenten. "But at The Boys and Girls Club, there was always someone here who could help. It was my safe haven."
As a member of the club for 11 years, Brenten has been there longer than all of the staff members and his peers and said he considers the club as a second home. Character and Leadership Director, Carol Wyre, said she has watched Brenten evolve over the years and she knows he will represent well.
"He stands out from the rest. He is always taking advantages of opportunities," Wyre said.
With a desire to give others those same opportunities, Brenten noticed discarded computers at his school and asked his teacher if he could donate some to the families of the Boys and Girls Club who do not have access to one in their home.
"I didn't have a computer in my house growing up so I know what it's like," said Brenten.
Brenten managed to fix the interior of each computer and donated 22 of them to families in need. "That's just the kind of person he is," said Wyre.
The RCHS senior, who maintains a 3.7 GPA, has served over 250 hours of community service, tutors younger club members with homework, is president of the club's Keystone Leadership Group, and a member of the C5 Association, an Atlanta based, nonprofit helping prepare youth for leadership roles in college and the community.
Rockdale's community leaders, RJ Hadley, Tax Commissioner, and Sheriff Eric Levett supported Brenten as mentors, teaching him the etiquette of public speaking and deliverance.
"I am proud of him. He is a good kid with a great story and positive energy," said Hadley. "This is a strong competition, but I really feel good about his chances."
Winners of the competition go on to compete on state level, regional level and national level in order to have the chance to meet the President. Though he hopes he can make it that far, Brenten is looking forward to attending Georgia Tech next year, majoring in Computer Hardware Engineering.
"I did not think I would get picked [to represent] for Youth of the Year," said Brenten. "I think it's the effort I put in and even just the little things I do that count."
The Marriot Marquis is located at 265 Peachtree Center Ave. NE, Atlanta. Tickets for this event are on sale for $250. For more information contact Jenny Cox at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Draper Boys and Girls Club is located at 1462 East Walker Ave., College Park.