By Alisha McDarris
For Hometown News
MARTIN COUNTY - Five exceptional teens were recognized as such during last week's Boys and Girls Club of Martin County Youth of the Year Awards, but only one came out on top.
Lovely Davlimar, 18 and a senior at Clark Advanced Learning Center, took the title this year after three years of nominations.
"I finally won," Davlimar said after the ceremony on Feb. 11. "No words can describe, but I feel like I've entered Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory."
Davlimar, a member of the Palm City Boys and Girls Club and that club's Youth of the Year, was selected by a panel of judges as this year's champion. Four other students from area clubs participated including Bria Anderson, last year's winner, Felix Macedonoio, Angel Plata and Bridget Duignan.
"These students are the face of the Boys and Girls Club of Martin County and we're so proud of them," said Anne McCormick, Boys and Girls Club of Martin County CEO.
They were all thrilled to be nominated and proud to represent their clubs and each gave a speech at the ceremony describing what the Boys and Girls Club means to them, how it changed them and how it prepared them for the future.
"The Boys and Girls Club has taught me that anything is possible," Felix, 15, said.
"Here are five very promising teenagers that are already winners," said keynote speaker Dr. Phillip Schein.
But only one could take the prize and move on to the state Youth of the Year competition in Orlando with hopes of going all the way to nationals and claiming a $50,000 scholarship and that individual was Davlimar.
At BGCMC, she's president of the Keystone Club and has contributed more than 100 community service hours in the last year. She has organized fundraising drives, tutored younger club members, and served as a volunteer cheer and dance coach, all while maintaining a 5.31 GPA and preparing for a career as a neonatal nurse practitioner.
"Lovely is without a doubt the true definition of her name," said Rhonda McGlahee-McClain, training director and Davlimar's Keystone advisor.
Davlimar was shocked and honored to receive the title but is proud to represent the club that she loves.
"My Boys and Girls Club is my refuge. It's that safe place that I can go to and feel comforted and welcomed," Davlimar said.