News: BGCA names D-M teen Pacific Military Youth of the Year
Story by Airman 1st Class Chris Massey
DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. - A member of the D-M AFB Youth Programs has earned the 2013-14 Boys and Girls Club of America Pacific Military Youth of the Year honor and scholarship.
Daj’ Zhane Radford-Walton, 18-year-old daughter of Senior Master Sgt. Eddie Walton, 355 Maintenance Operations Squadron, and Staff Sgt. Richardi Walton, 355 Civil Engineering Squadron, was chosen from eight military youth candidates within the BGCA’s Pacific region to receive this recognition.
The Military Youth of the Year honor is a distinct component of the National Youth of the Year program. It recognizes a club member who served on a military installation who has overcome enormous odds and demonstrated exceptional character and accomplishments.
According to her nomination package, multiple parental deployments left Daj’ Zhane feeling responsible for her younger sister, but did not decrease her determination to maintain good grades and contribute to her club and community.
Throughout high school, Daj’ Zhane remained on the honor roll with a 3.89 GPA, while taking advanced and honors classes. Determined to be well-rounded, she also participated in a number of extracurricular activities, including marching band, track and a program that advocates the importance of wellness to other students.
Radford-Walton will receive $11,000 in college scholarships from the Youth of the Year program’s national sponsor and an additional $5,000 from the Taco Bell Foundation.
“We are extremely proud of her,” said her parents. “This honor is a testament to Daj' Zhane's character and work ethic. We are also excited about the opportunity the scholarship affords her to pursue her dreams.”
She plans to attend the University of Arizona in pursuit of her dream of becoming an oncologist and discovering a cure for cancer.
Even though she received this award, she continues to be an active member of the community.
“Each time I volunteer, I know I am helping a cause much bigger than myself,” Radford-Walton said. “It's giving back to the people in order for the community as a whole to move forward. Most of the time I don't feel as if it is work, rather its meeting new people and broadening my horizons.”
She is the active member of Keystone Club, a Youth Employment Skills member, and she works twice a week as an assistant dance instructor.
“In order to reach forward you have to give back by helping people pursue their dreams,” Radford-Walton said. “It is important to have a mentor to guide you a long life's journey to help transform a vision into reality.”
Radford-Walton will compete for the national title in Washington, D.C., this month.