On October 18, the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners recognized six outstanding young people for their contributions to the community through leadership in academics, community service, athletics, performing arts, conservation and other areas. The 2023 Youth Excellence and Achievement Awards, also known as the YEA! Awards, were presented at the October 18 regular meeting of the Board of County Commissioners.
The YEA! Awards recognize three middle school and three high school students in Hillsborough County who display initiative, innovation and commitment to themselves and others while pursuing leadership excellence.
Specifically, the YEA! Awards categories include Success Despite Difficult Odds. Eligible students must show the ability to persevere through challenges to make a positive impact on others.
The second category is Leadership. Here, students must demonstrate 21st-century skills, including critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity in how they lead others academically, in extracurricular programs or in service to the community.
The third category is Volunteer or Community Service. In this one, students who dedicate substantial time to serving their community are recognized.
This year’s YEA! Awards recipients in the Success Despite Difficult Odds are Gavin Shreeve from Randall Middle School and Caitlin Conrad from George M. Steinbrenner High School.
In the Leadership category, the winners are Nathaniel Freeman from Williams Middle IB School and Hunter Anderson from Durant High School.
In the Volunteer or Community Service category, the recipients are Gabrielle Lee from Farnell Middle School and Jayen Patel from Hillsborough High School.
Shreeve, despite serious and significant health issues, has maintained excellent grades and uses his spare time to give back to the community. Specifically, Shreeve fundraises for the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. He was also named the 2024 Children’s Miracle Network Champion for John’s Hopkins All Children’s Hospital for his efforts in an annual toy drive.
Shreeve said of the award, “I was surprised and very happy to learn that I would be receiving the YEA! Award.”
Anderson, a senior from Durant High School, was selected for his leadership skills in leading the school’s Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapter. He is the consummate team player who collaborates with his peers and other organizations. He recently persuaded the Valrico FishHawk Chamber of Commerce to sponsor 44 students to be able to attend the FBLA’s conference in Orlando.
Anderson said of the award, “This is an honor to receive.”
The YEA! Awards were created in 2010. For more information about the YEA! Awards, go to www.hcflgov.net/yea.