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Casper student wins state Boys Girls Clubs honor
"I immediately felt safe, had fun and was finally surrounded by people who genuinely cared about me," Williams said. "I got involved with the Cowboy Ethics program and began to learn a different way of living life."
Williams was selected from finalists at the Casper club level in August and delivered a powerful speech in front of nearly 1,000 Awards Recognition Breakfast attendees. Her speech detailed her harrowing early years, her brief decision to follow in her addicted mother's footsteps and her slow climb back out once she was in foster care and began going to the Boys Girls Club after school.
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"My mother was 15 when she had me," the speech begins. "I grew up unsupervised, surrounded by a party lifestyle which caused me to believe that alcohol, drugs and sex were just normal, everyday life. Subsequently, I began to follow in the footsteps of the stereotypical addict that I called 'Mom.'"
Today, Kaylee Williams is a junior at Roosevelt High School and the 2014 Wyoming Traditional Youth of the Year representing Boys Girls Clubs members throughout the state. (The group also names a military youth of the year, thus the word "traditional.")
Wyoming has never had a Regional Boys Girls Club Youth of the Year winner. Larger scholarship awards come with that title.
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Her high school principal refers to her as the warrior princess. Three years ago, she had no high school credits and missed 82 days of school.
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"She is a phenomenal kid," Bruggman said. "She's probably coached me and taught me more about life than I have her. Her resiliency is amazing. She is such a positive kid. Her story and her speech are just the tip of the iceberg."
Williams. She has a plan.
"School had never been a priority in her life, because Kaylee's education had never been a priority to the adults in her life," Lori Jackson wrote in a letter of recommendation for her. "The transformation began with simply asking Kaylee how her day was, checking attendance Adidas Neo Pink And Grey online and making calls to the school."
At the Boys Girls Club Teen Center, Williams found staff members Julie McCarthy (now Hulbur) and Chad Horkan, who showed her that she could be somebody.
From August until the state youth of the year contest in Cheyenne on Friday, and now until the regional competition in Dallas in June, Williams' mentor is club development coordinator Lou Bruggman, who serves as her coach and travel chaperone.
Since August, Williams, along with her three younger siblings, has lived with her grandmother, Roberta Williams. She has the chance to be a role model instead of a mother to her brother and two sisters.
She is going to attend UW, major in pre medicine and become a doctor serving low income families.
After the current spring semester, Williams will need just three credits to graduate, which she intends to do in December.
Williams' victory Friday "may have been a $50,000 day for her" depending on the cost of attending the University of Wyoming, said Ashley Bright, head of the Casper Boys Girls Club. "The (state) prize is a full tuition and fees education award up to six years supplement to the Hathaway Scholarship," Bright said. "And there are $3,000 scholarships awarded at the club level for the winner."
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"Resiliency is a mystery to me. I struggle to understand how some kids can rise above their unfortunate circumstances and others are held hostage by the cards that they may have been dealt. Kaylee is a warrior. She is actually a princess as well. She has made the conscious decision to positively impact the world around her. . This warrior princess has earned my deepest love and respect," Roosevelt Principal Shawna Trujillo wrote in a letter of recommendation.
a somebody," was the theme of her speech. Six months later, after plenty of polish and practice, Williams again delivered the speech on Feb. 1 to another crowd of 1,000 at the Reverse Raffle Auction. Although the crowd was in a loud, celebratory mood that evening, her voice was stronger, her appearance far more self assured.
"Today, I am strong, confident and passionately pursuing my dreams," her speech concludes. "I am a somebody. I am a somebody. Now these are words I can't get out of my head."We provide this community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day. Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical Adidas Originals Brown Trainers
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If Wyoming were to win a first time, it might as well be Adidas Neo Selena Gomez White
Williams said her transformation began when she was placed in the foster care of Lori and Terry Jackson.
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