MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Memphis “Youth of the Year” for 2023 is Fatou Diallo. 16-year-old Diallo is a junior at Bartlett High School.

In a room packed with parents and family and a table of judges ahead, Fatou Diallo took the stage of the Youth of the Year competition with confidence.

“Now that I’m in high school, I’m a strong young woman who can persevere through anything,” said Diallo.

Throughout the evening, six high school students from across the Mid-South took the stage.

“Students are evaluated on their essays, speeches and how they answer questions the judges ask them,” said Katie Sweeney, Director of Grants and Outcome Measurement for Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis.

Sweeney said the annual competition highlights students nominated by their local Boys & Girls Clubs. “It’s a really exciting opportunity,” said Sweeney.

Next, Diallo heads to Nashville for a state competition.

“When I was on stage I was nervous. I had a feeling I was going to win but I was still nervous because I was in front of a lot of people. Once I won I just had a whole sigh of relief. I was really happy and excited,” said Diallo.

Fatou’s journey at Boys & Girls Club started two years ago.

“When I first came here I was 14 and I was still very shy, but once I came into the Boys & Girls Club, I felt very comfortable and it felt like a community and family,” said Diallo.

Activities like community service and outdoor fun fueled lifelong connections.

Diallo describes herself as “very funny, hard working, strong mentally and physically and ambitious.”

Her ambitions now include making her impact at the Boys & Girls Club lead to an even bigger platform.

“I want to leave an impact on this world. I don’t want my name to be here just while I’m alive,” said Diallo.