Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

March 30, 2017 at 1:58pm

McChord youth wins MYOY

Pictured in the photo from left to right: Zebbie Castilleja (2016 Youth of the Year - Boys and Girls Club of Benton and Franklin counties), Nyah Hall, Brianna Mitchell, and Chief Ken Hohenberg. Courtesy photo

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Nyah Hall, dependent of Tech. Sgt. Quincy Hall, 62nd Operations Support Squadron loadmaster and a sophomore at Clover Park High School, spoke to an audience of distinguished guests about the impact the Boys and Girls Club has had on her life, and her vision for the youth of America in addition to demonstrating poise under pressure during four interview sessions.

"In order to be considered for Military Youth of the Year I had to submit three essays," Nyah said. "The topics were my interests, my Boys and Girls Club experience and what I wanted for the youth of the nation. The speech I made during the competition was a combination of those three essays."

In the days leading to the main event, Nyah and fellow Youth of the Year contestants had the opportunity to practice their speeches in the Space Needle, and meet with local legislative officials including Governor Jay Inslee.

Despite the title at stake, there was no animosity amongst the competitors.

"The counselors who went to Seattle with us said in previous years ‘Youth of the Year' nominees had been more competitive toward each other," Nyah explained. "My group was so friendly; after knowing each other for only three days we became like a little family."

That feeling deepened as each nominee delivered their speeches and Nyah was able to learn more about her newfound friends.

"I was listening to the speeches and thinking about how amazing these people were for overcoming difficult times in their lives to end up here, braver and stronger than they were before," Nyah said.

Though impressed by each Youth of the Year contestant, Nyah was prepared when the time came to take center stage. A lifetime member of the Boys and Girls Club, Nyah and her mother had been taking steps to compete for the Military Youth of the Year title and scholarship for several years.

"I have been part of the Boys and Girls Club for my whole life," Nyah said. "My mom wanted me to gain experience from this competition and has been encouraging me to prepare since the sixth grade."

The thought of public speaking is enough to paralyze many adults with fear, but 15-year-old Nyah was calm, cool and collected as she addressed a ballroom full of guests, all hanging on her every word.

"When I'm speaking I look at people throughout the audience, focus on what I'm saying, and don't let anyone or anything get to me."

According to Nyah's father Quincy, watching their daughter in the throes of competition induced a range of emotions for him and Corinthia Hall, Nyah's mother.

"My wife was nervous the whole time, but I had an unexplainable peace come over me," Quincy said. "When they announced her name I wasn't surprised at all; I was very proud, but not surprised."

Quincy wasn't the only overjoyed member of the Hall family in the ballroom that night.

"I was excited," Nyah said, smiling. "I was really nervous standing on stage waiting for the announcement, but when they said my name I was just so excited."

Well on her way to a successful life, Nyah plans to utilize her scholastic talent to serve.

"I hope to attend the University of Washington and earn a Bachelor of Science," Nyah said. "I want to be a flight nurse in the Air Force."

Proud parents Quincy and Corinthia have sweet and simple advice for their trailblazer.

"Stick with it," Quincy said. "Know that we're here for you and continue to trust in God."

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