SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A Central High School student has been recognized for his efforts not just in the classroom but also in his community.
The Boys and Girls Club of Springfield announced 18-year-old Eric Cowan as its 2017 Youth of the Year Wednesday night.
With that title comes a check of $12,000 thousand for college. But he says he’s received so much more than that from the club over the last 13 years.
“It’s been a family relationship,” said Cowan who’s been a part of the Boys and Girls Club since he was 6.
“It’s been an honor to have this opportunity,” he said.
Now, he’s being recognized for all his hard work in the classroom with a 4.56 GPA. As well as playing baseball, bowling and volunteering with Friends Against Hunger and as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army.
“He’s just an awesome young man,” said Randy Carpenter, director of operations at BGC.
11 other members were competing for the title, making it a difficult decision for the judges.
“When they make it that far, they’re just awesome individuals,” said Carpenter. “Eric stood out just with the things that he has had to deal in his life and also with his character.”
Cowan has dealt with a speech impediment since a young age and he says the club helped him overcome it.
“The staff have been great, great mentors,” he said.
Cowan now has become a mentor himself.
“He works with other kids, he works with other teens and he mentors them,” Carpenter said.
Cowan says he is still deciding where to go to college but wants to be an actuary and now he has a scholarship to help him get started.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “I’ve never had this opportunity to pursue further education in my life.”
Cowan will now go on to compete for the Missouri Youth of the Year title in April in Jefferson City.