Over the last four years, the Boys and Girls Club of Augusta has chosen its youth of the year award recipient from the Thomson club. That's an honor Club Director Tim Daniels is proud of, but not too surprised about.
"I think it's more of a preparation thing," he said. "And then the school system we're in up in Thomson. You know, Thomson is more of a close-knit place."
This year's recipient, LaChaundra Gant, received the award at the recent steak and burger fundraiser in Augusta. LaChaundra is a junior at Thomson High School who plans on attending Georgia Southern after graduation.
Mr. Daniels had only good things to say about this year's winner and the improvement she has made in academics and community involvement since first joining the club six years ago.
"She's an excellent student," he said. "We're just looking forward to continue to work with her because she has another year."
LaChaundra - who also won youth of the year at the Thomson club in 2002 and 2007 - was pleased with the area-wide award this year.
"I'm real surprised still," she said, "because I had a lot of great opponents up against me. But I came out on top."
LaChaundra said she wrote several essays as part of the entry for the overall award. The Augusta Boys and Girls Club Board of Directors interviewed two candidates from each of the three locations and chose the winner from the results of those interviews.
"They chose the kid they feel like can represent the organization the best," Mr. Daniels said.
With LaChaundra's involvement in many programs at Springfield Baptist Church and her hope to become a teacher, she proved to be the one the Augusta-area clubs wanted to represent them.
But the appreciation doesn't just go one way. LaChaundra said the Thomson club has been a huge positive influence on her life.
"Before the Boys and Girls Club there was really nothing that I could do or that I had to do," she said. "After school there was really nothing to do but like get in trouble, so it kept me from doing that."