NHS senior competes for scholarship

Published 12:10 am Thursday, January 26, 2012

ROD GUAJARDO / The Natchez Democrat — Asia Holloway, a senior at Natchez High School, was chosen to represent Natchez in the Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year competition after logging 200 community service hours and being an avid volunteer at the club.

NATCHEZ — Asia Holloway looks at her future the way she’s always looked at her afternoons after school.

“I want to do something with myself,” the Natchez High School senior said.

“I don’t want to just be here not doing anything.”

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And just like the Boys and Girls Club of the Miss-Lou prevented her from sitting on the couch after school as a third grader, the nonprofit youth organization is giving her a boost at age 17.

The BGC recently chose Holloway to represent the local chapter in the Youth of the Year competition in Jackson.

Holloway, who has spent much of the 200 hours of community service she’s completed this year by tutoring children at the BGC, will compete Feb. 2-4 for a $1,000 scholarship.

Boys and Girls Club of America’s Youth of the Year recognizes outstanding contributions to a member’s family, school, community and BGC, as well as overcoming personal challenges and obstacles.

Holloway said she has attended BGC since she was little, and she credits the club and her own household for her “A ‘C’ is not OK” attitude, she said.

She said she never liked the idea of being bored at home while her mother was at work, so the BGC became a home away from home to her as a child.

“It’s like they take you and mold you (at the BGC),” she said. “They are like parents; they don’t let you get away with anything.”

Holloway stopped attending the club in ninth grade as a student but returned in 11th grade as a volunteer.

Now, she spends nearly five days a week in front of a white board, helping her favorite group — the 5 to 7 year olds — with their homework and other tasks.

“They always give you something to laugh about,” she said of working with children.

Holloway gets off of school at 1 p.m. and also works as an administrative assistant at Central Alternative School before heading to the BGC facility at the Margaret Martin Gym.

After school and work, she considers her time at the BGC her “me time.”

“My free time (would be) sitting on the couch, so it’s better to be doing something than nothing,” she said of why she volunteers.

As a member of the National Honor Society and Mississippi Scholars, Holloway has maintained a 3.8 grade point average.

She recently earned an academic scholarship to Alcorn State University, where she plans to study nursing. Following nursing school, she hopes to get a traveling nursing job to discover life outside of Natchez, she said.

The competition could prove a first step to travel the country.

If Holloway wins at the state competition, she will compete for the title of Regional Youth of the Year and a $10,000 scholarship from Tupperware Brands Corporation, the recognition program’s national sponsor.

Five regional winners will advance to Washington, D.C., in September, to compete for the title of BGCA’s National Youth of the Year.

The National Youth of the Year will receive a scholarship of up to $50,000 from The Rick and Susan Goings Foundation and will meet President Obama at the White House.

Holloway said she was overwhelmed to learn she had been selected.

“It’s a once-and-a-lifetime thing, and I’m lucky to be a part of it, especially since (the BGC) is something I grew up with,” Holloway said.

Holloway is the daughter of Carmen Holloway and Douglas Williams.