A Sonoran Science Academy freshman was recently selected as the Boys and Girls Club of America Arizona Military Youth of the Year.
David Zulli, son of Lt. Col. Daniel Zulli, 355th Fighter Wing base chaplain, competed against other youth around Arizona, winning a $1,000 scholarship and advancing on to the regional competition.
Being a military child, David falls under a few different rules.
“Normally a competitor would need to be part of the local club for two years, but since military families move a lot, it is harder for a member to stay in one club long enough to compete,” David explained. “Military children can compete as long as they are involved in a BGCA program for two years, but it can be at different locations.”
To compete, David created a portfolio complete with 10 self-authored essays, two letters of recommendation and certificates of achievement. He also gave a three-minute speech in front of a panel of judges about how the BGCA had helped him overcome challenges in his life.
In addition to his package, David has accumulated 130 volunteer hours since August 2013. David is involved with community organizations such as the Boy Scouts and National Honor Society. He is also the president of the BGCA Keystone program and teaches piano to six children.
David, 15, was the youngest person in the competition. Most of the competitors were seniors in high school. The age gap between David and his competitors gave him an idea of what he is capable of.
“It was really awesome to know that I could hold my own in a competition with people who are much older than me and still be successful,” David said.
In July, David will travel to California where he will compete with other states’ Youth of the Year at the Pacific Regionals. If he wins at the regional level, he will receive a $10,000 scholarship and advance to the national level.