Shanya Luke, a senior at Lennard High School in Ruskin, is the winner of this year's Youth Excellence and Achievement Awards in the category of Leadership.

The 2021 Youth Excellence and Achievement Awards (YEA! Awards) were given to six outstanding students on May 5 at the beginning of the regular Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners meeting. Locally, Shanya Luke, a senior at Lennard High School in Ruskin, received the Award for Leadership.

Shanya was nominated by her coach and mentor, Aiyani Gibbons.

In her nomination form, Gibbons stated, “When I met Shanya as a freshman, I was immediately impressed by her maturity and confidence. Shanya is known throughout the school for her athletic achievements in track and field, as well as for being a studious student.”

Gibbons added, “It is an honor to nominate Shanya as she is an outstanding student with so much to offer. Our school was very lucky to have her as a student.”

Shanya was also nominated by her mother, Shaunette Luke, who said, “Shanya was honored to have been recognized for her hard work and dedication.”

She added, “Shanya is an amazing student athlete. She is focused on her future and does whatever it takes to make sure that she has all the resources she needs in order to succeed.”

Shanya is an honor student with a 5.38 GPA and is a youth fire cadet with Hillsborough County Fire Rescue. She plans to attend Florida Atlantic University in the fall and wants to become a firefighter after college. Shanya is also working on a veterinary assistant certification through the FFA program at Lennard High School. She plans to earn a degree in veterinary science and has the goal of working both careers.

Shanya received not only the recognition, but also a medal and a $100 Amazon Gift Card.

Her mother said, “This award will help her with any additional items she needs for college.”

The YEA! Awards categories include Success Despite Difficult Odds—overcoming personal difficulty to attain success and make a positive impact on others; Leadership—demonstrating a positive impact on others in an ongoing endeavor such as sports, academics or the arts; and Volunteer or Community Service—allocating discretionary time to help others or completing a project that improves the community.

For more information on the YEA! Awards, please visit

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