WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Boys and Girls Club awarded their 70th Youth of The Year scholarship in it’s statewide competition last week. This year that winning torch was handed over to a Northeast Magnet student that many call an exceptional young man. Now, he’s being recognized for his leadership and academic excellence. However, his book smarts isn’t the only reason he brought that winning torch home.
“I’m the same age my mother was when she had me,” said Chris Burrell, this years’ Youth of the Year. “And she graduated at the top of her class while having me so she hasn’t expected anything less.”
At 17, Chris is the first to break teen pregnancy in his family and he tells us his mom made sure of that. Last week, Chris was officially named the Boys and Girls Club, Youth of the Year for the entire state of Kansas.
The Wichita Boys and Girls Club Director, Juston White told KSN, “We have a competitive nature and this is during the time of March Madness so when they announced Chris’s name, I felt like we won a state championship.”
Each year the Boys and Girls Club recognizes one exceptional student, statewide in the form of a check to help with college tuition and Chris says he’ll be taking his to Oklahoma State University.
“The day I had him, I was laying in my hospital bed imagining what he would be like when he was 17,” said Chris’s mother, Valyn Burrell. “So in essence, I’ve kind of preparing myself for this day but I’m not prepared for it.”
Mom doesn’t want Chris to go too far from home but says he will do well anywhere he goes and his basketball coach couldn’t agree more.
“It’s really interesting to see how that work ethic off the court translates to on the court too,” said Coach Joe Jackson of Wichita East High school. “I don’t think we’ve got anybody in our program that puts as much heart and soul on the line as Chris does and that makes me proud.
Chris is now entered into a regional competition that could lead to national, giving him a platform to be awarded an even bigger scholarship. This conference will take place in Dallas over the summer and we will all be rooting for him.