By Angelo Parlove
Saline Mayor Brian Marl summed up the group: extraordinary.
“We have a pretty extraordinary group of young people who are being recognized today,” the mayor said about the 12 Saline-area youths nominated this year for the Youth of the Year Award.
In conjunction with the Saline Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual Saline Salutes awards program, the Saline Youth Council hosts the Youth of the Year Award to honor outstanding teens in the school district.
Now in its 14th year, the 2017 award saw a record-breaking 18 nominations, with 12 different students getting nods, including three receiving multiple nominations. “I am so enthusiastic about this group of kids and just the kids in general,” said Heidi McClelland, city council liaison to the youth council. “It’s just amazing and exciting, so much talent and so much community-driven potential out there.”
The 2017 Youth of the Year Award winner is Riaz Clark, a senior at Saline High School devoted to UPROAR, an SHS student diversity group, and known for promoting and educating citizens on social justice.
The other nominees were: Hannah Bird, Jane Burnett, Katie Clark, Claire Conzelmann, Amanda Coy, Cali Harden, Evan Koerschner, Jessica Lyons, Melinda McCabe, Maeve Skelly and Michael Wolf. The students were all nominated based on their volunteer service, leadership skills and commitment to making Saline a better place to live.
The youths were recognized at the city council meeting on March 20 and received a certificate and lapel pin from the City of Saline. On a busy school night, only five nominees were able to attend the meeting.
“I must tell you, we only give these lapel pins to our most valued and appreciated friends,” Marl told the students in attendance at the council meeting.
Clark will also be honored at the Saline Salutes event on March 24 at the Center for Innovation and Education.