Afton Kinkade was one of the winners of Hillsborough County’s YEA! Awards last year. Applications for this year’s awards are accepted until Friday, May 13.

Do you know an outstanding young adult who deserves some recognition?

Each year, Hillsborough County recognizes the many positive contributions made by young people in our community through the Youth Excellence and Achievement Awards (YEA! Awards). The deadline to submit nominations this year has been extended for the awards. Nominations are now being accepted through Friday, May 13 until 5 p.m.

YEA! Awards nominations can be submitted for both middle and high school students in each of the following categories:

Leadership—demonstrating positive impact on others in an ongoing endeavor, such as sports, academics or the arts.

Success Despite Difficult Odds—overcoming tremendous personal difficulty to attain success and to make a positive impact on others.

Volunteer or Community Service—allocating discretionary time to help others or complete a project that has improved our community.

The nomination form is available for submission online at Nominations will be reviewed by the Commission on the Status of Women.

The YEA! Awards were created in 2010 to recognize Hillsborough County students for making a difference in their community. Students honored show initiative, innovation and a commitment to themselves and others while pursuing excellence in a leadership capacity. This can be demonstrated in academics, community service, athletics, performing arts, conservation or other areas.

Afton Kinkade was one of the winners last year. A leader in the aviation community as a strong female, Kinkade maintains high scores in school while pursuing her passions in aviation. She is a member of the John Glenn Top Gun Academy (an honor society for STEM students), brand ambassador for Women in Aviation Tampa Bay Chapter and Flight School Association of North America’s youth envoy. She was recently a guest editor for AviNation magazine with her article, “My Path to the Left Seat,” and was a featured pilot in the movie documentary Fly Like A Girl.

The 2022 YEA! Awards will be presented by the board of county commissioners in June. 

For additional information on the YEA! Awards, visit or contact Hillsborough County Communications & Digital Media at 813-272-5194.

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Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.