Denzell Perry, a member of the Watts/Willowbrook Boys & Girls Club in Los Angeles will receive $11,000 in college scholarships after being named Pacific Region Youth of the Year by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA). Perry, 18, competed in Washington, D.C. alongside fellow teen scholars for the title of National Youth of the Year, participating in intensive interviews with a panel of judges and being evaluated on criteria such as academic achievement, strong character and a track record of community service.

Despite growing up with a speech impediment and without a positive male role model, Perry, a 11-year member of the Watts club, overcame these obstacles and graduated from high school this spring. With the $11,000 scholarship provided by the Youth of the Year program’s national sponsor, Tupperware Brands Corporation, Perry plans to attend the University of California, Berkeley, and major in education and pre-law.

At his Boys & Girls Club, Perry has served as Keystone Club president, and a member of the Junior Staff program. When the club wanted to promote its College Access Preparation program, he created a website geared toward his peers. Perry has gained critical life skills by taking advantage of offerings like the Money Matters financial literacy program, and SMART Moves, a program to help young people make good choices.

He’s been a standout in high school, too. He was elected class president, belonged to the Black Student Union, and was a student member on the board of education.

Youth of the Year recognition is the highest honor a club member can achieve. Founded in 1947, the program celebrates youth who have overcome enormous odds and demonstrated exceptional character and accomplishments. These deserving young people are recognized for service to their Club and community, academic performance and contributions to their family.