EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

February 10, 2013

Four finalists vie for Salem's Youth of the Year

Four candidates up for top award at Boys & Girls Club

SALEM — For years, they have helped out at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem, assisting younger children and making a difference in their own way.

But now, Kristen Foster, Cecilia Souza, Alyssa St. Cyr and Max Wildfeuer will finally be recognized for their hard work Tuesday night. One lucky teen will be honored as the club’s Youth of the Year.

All four teens have been members of the club for several years. Helping young children at the club has prompted the three girls to decide to become teachers. Wildfeuer wants to run his own business, preferably a restaurant.

Each teen has helped out at the club in numerous ways, making it a tough decision for the five judges, according to club president Patrick Donovan. The local attorney won the award himself as a 17-year-old in 1982.

The teens have helped in the community as well, Donovan said. But their work didn’t stop there.

Once they were nominated as finalists, the teens had to complete a resume, write essays and be interviewed by the judges, Donovan said.

“We had four fantastic finalists,” he said. “All of our candidates are exceptional leaders in the club. I can’t say enough about them.”

And these modest teens aren’t the type to brag about their accomplishments.

They were a little surprised to learn they had been nominated for the club’s most prestigious award for young people. Wildfeuer was nominated two years in a row.

“It was definitely a surprise,” said Souza, 14, an-eighth-grader at Woodbury School. “I wasn’t expecting it.”

She’s the youngest of the group, but has been going to the club for 11 years. The other three attend Salem High School.

Success runs in the Souza family. Her sister, Celeste, was a finalist for the award a couple of years ago.

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