Return to Headlines

Boys of Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix




The Boys of Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix held its annual Celebrating Youth event, January 11, and several Phoenix Union students were recognized as 2019 Youths of the Year at their respective clubs: Rolando Aucca Valenzuela of Carl Hayden, Maria Higuera, Wilson College Prep; Eli Fuentes, Central High; and Mikayla Lowry, Trevor Browne. (photographs left to right)  Each club identifies a Youth of the Year, and they develop their writing and presentation skills in specialized workshops with ASU West Communication Lab mentors, and tell their stories of “courage, resilience, compassion and hope” to judges and to the audience at the Celebrating Youth event.

Valenzuela is from the Jerry Colangelo Branch where he has been a club member for six years.  He is a member of the National Honors Society, Blue Planet Club and MECHA while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.  He is the president of the club’s Keystone Club and is teaching himself to play the guitar.  Valenzuela plans to attend college in the fall, and would like to become an automotive engineer.

Higuera has been with the Warner & Shirley Gabel Branch since 5th grade.  She enjoys playing basketball, being in both the art and photography clubs at school, and volunteers at an animal shelter.  Higuera hopes to attend college in Seattle and become a professional photographer.

Fuentes has been attending the Harry & Sandy Rosenzweig club since he was in fourth grade.  He earned the Keystoner of the Year award two years in a row, and has completed over 1700 hours of community service during his time in his Keystone Club.  Outside of the club, he works with nonprofits that serve homeless, refugees and children.  He plays varsity football at Central, and plans to attend ASU majoring in healthcare Administration.

You may remember Lowry as the girl who won the $100,000 scholarship at the Beyoncé and JayZ concert last fall.  She has been a B&G Club member for over 10 years at the Spencer D. & Mary Jane Steward Branch.   Lowry developed a talent for photography through the Club, entered a national photography competition with Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and won an award and national recognition.  She plans to attend college in the fall and would like to be a marine biologist or forensic scientist. 

Have News to Share? Let us know on our News By You Form.

You can also check out weekly school and District news items on our website at