Exchange Club Names Spring Youth Honorees

Club chooses top youth for spring 2024The Exchange Club of Killeen honored 14 high school seniors Monday as Youth of the Semester.


Two students each nominated from seven Killeen ISD high schools earned the award and the chance to be named Youth of the Year and receive a scholarship.


The students shared with club members and guests words of wisdom during the organization’s monthly gathering.


Another 14 students chosen last semester make up the pool to compete for two $1,000 scholarships at the end of the school year.


During the presentation at Yank Sing Restaurant in Killeen, each student introduced their guests and provided “words of wisdom” for those in attendance, including parents, educators and other supporters and Exchange Club members.


The students spoke about blazing their own trail in life, leaning on their support system, managing time wisely and finding love within themselves to share with others.


Exchange Club President Dawn Richardson read portions of the students’ nomination essays.


They responded to questions about their mentors, a favorite quote and how they would change the community.


“It’s amazing,” said Jeffrey Brown, a nominee from Killeen High School. “I never expected to be honored in this way. I’m grateful for my principal, who is very supportive of me.”


He said he’s both excited and scared to graduate and move on.


“I have good support,” he said. “I’m ready to take on the challenge.” He’s on his way to Texas State University to study business.


Janely Ortiz-Acosta of Chaparral High School also said she was nervous about the future. She is on her way to Central Texas College, then a four-year university to study computer science.


“I’m proud to be recognized for my achievements,” she said. “It’s nice to be recognized for academics, extra-curriculars and service.”


Honorees for the spring semester include the following:



Desiree Gomez and Jeffrey Brown



Alana Gonzalez and Jaymes Brown-Peterson



Taynia Springs and Bob-Hley Bastien



Janely Ortiz-Acosta and Reynaldo Serna


Harker Heights:

Cassidy Braccini and Davier Gonzalez


Early College:

Aileen Menjivar and Drake Adams



Brianni Gaines and Clayton Sursa


Exchange Club Youth of the Semester for fall are:


Chaparral High School

Bethany Romero

Christopher Keifer

 Fall 2023 youth of the semester

Early College High School

Alexis Speakman

Christian Butler


Ellison High School

Nevaeh Robledo-Blankenship

Jaden O’Brien


Harker Heights High School

Sarah Gill

Vyom Patel


Killeen High School

Ana Gonzalez

Max Widacki


Pathways Academic Campus

Jordielys Hernandez

Benjamin Allsbrook


Shoemaker High School

Alahna Daniels

V’Jae Brown