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Westminster High junior named Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year

Dillon Hereth, a junior at Westminster High School, was named Youth of Year by the Boys & Girls Club of Westminster. Hereth, like the Westminster club itself, continued serving others while also adapting to the pandemic.

The Youth of the Year honor coms with scholarship money. Hereth earned the award and $500 for showing leadership, service and academic excellence. He demonstrated those qualities over the years through his work on the robotics team, his shelf donation and his art contribution.

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The 17-year-old said he was ecstatic to be named the club’s Youth of the Year and could not stop smiling as the good news was delivered over the phone.

“It means a lot,” he said. “I can’t really put into words too well.”

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Dillon Hereth holds the first place trophy won, Roar of the Robots Tournament II - Core Values Award. Dillon Hereth has been named the Boys & Girls Club of Westminster Youth of the Year. The Youth of the Year title is a prestigious honor bestowed upon an exemplary young person in recognition of leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to live a healthy lifestyle.
Dillon Hereth holds the first place trophy won, Roar of the Robots Tournament II - Core Values Award. Dillon Hereth has been named the Boys & Girls Club of Westminster Youth of the Year. The Youth of the Year title is a prestigious honor bestowed upon an exemplary young person in recognition of leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to live a healthy lifestyle. (Jeffrey F. Bill/Carroll County Times)

It marks the third time he won the title, which is given to a student on elementary, middle and high school levels, having previously won the elementary and middle school versions.

To win Youth of the Year, Hereth had to submit an essay and have an interview via Zoom, during which he told judges how he makes an impact on the Boys & Girls Club.

Hereth has been attending the club since fifth grade and at first he wasn’t involved much. But that later changed. He joined the club’s robotics team when he was in middle school. At first it started out as a few lessons. Students learned how to make a bot with the motor from an electric toothbrush – bristle bots.

It later grew to a competitive team where Hereth was the captain. The 2018 Roar of the Robots tournament core values award trophy was seated next to him.

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It was with this team where Hereth’s leadership skills came to be. Hereth described himself and his fellow teammates as “headstrong” and members sometimes butted heads. Hereth, however, detested conflict, and often served as the mediator during a disagreement. He would try to make both sides happy and the resolutions helped avoid a “fall out, like a boy band,” he said.

Dillon Hereth with the first place trophy won, Roar of the Robots Tournament II - Core Values Award and two Lego Robots. He also designed the painting on the doors behind him. Dillon Hereth has been named the Boys & Girls Club of Westminster Youth of the Year. The Youth of the Year title is a prestigious honor bestowed upon an exemplary young person in recognition of leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to live a healthy lifestyle.
Dillon Hereth with the first place trophy won, Roar of the Robots Tournament II - Core Values Award and two Lego Robots. He also designed the painting on the doors behind him. Dillon Hereth has been named the Boys & Girls Club of Westminster Youth of the Year. The Youth of the Year title is a prestigious honor bestowed upon an exemplary young person in recognition of leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to live a healthy lifestyle. (Jeffrey F. Bill/Carroll County Times)
Lego Robot. Dillon Hereth has been named the Boys & Girls Club of Westminster Youth of the Year. The Youth of the Year title is a prestigious honor bestowed upon an exemplary young person in recognition of leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to live a healthy lifestyle.
Lego Robot. Dillon Hereth has been named the Boys & Girls Club of Westminster Youth of the Year. The Youth of the Year title is a prestigious honor bestowed upon an exemplary young person in recognition of leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to live a healthy lifestyle. (Jeffrey F. Bill/Carroll County Times)

Erin Bishop, the club’s marketing director, said Hereth is an integral part of the new building they acquired in 2018. He spoke with donors and told them about the club’s impact. He and his dad created a shelf for the club, with wood from the old building, to store Legos. And he created a design for the decorated cabinets in the Knorr Brake STEaM Maker Space, a room for kids to be innovative.

“He will be a huge legacy,” Bishop said.

Hereth applied his “doodle style” drawing technique for the cabinet design and created a colorful and fun picture that was enlarged to fit on cabinets. Each cabinet panel had a letter from the acronym STEaM, science, technology, engineering, art and math, and behind it were elements that matched the word the letter stood for. For example, the “S,” which stands for science, had pictures of a tree with an apple falling off.

Dillon Hereth with the first place trophy won, Roar of the Robots Tournament II - Core Values Award and two Lego Robots. He also designed the painting on the doors behind him. Dillon Hereth has been named the Boys & Girls Club of Westminster Youth of the Year. The Youth of the Year title is a prestigious honor bestowed upon an exemplary young person in recognition of leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to live a healthy lifestyle.
Dillon Hereth with the first place trophy won, Roar of the Robots Tournament II - Core Values Award and two Lego Robots. He also designed the painting on the doors behind him. Dillon Hereth has been named the Boys & Girls Club of Westminster Youth of the Year. The Youth of the Year title is a prestigious honor bestowed upon an exemplary young person in recognition of leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to live a healthy lifestyle. (Jeffrey F. Bill/Carroll County Times)

The high school junior said school has been chaotic since the pandemic hit. He’s also had a “senior panic” as senior year, young adulthood, college and taxes creep around the corner. But he’s managing. He continued staying active in the club because it means so much to him.

“I try to come here a little bit to see how I can help,” he said.

Bishop said this has been the year of “adaptability.”

She recalled last year when the school system announced spring break would be extended and they eventually realized “we have to find a way to help these kids.” They could only have 78 students at once given the COVID-19 capacity restrictions and students have to stay within their pods and cohorts.

For the kids that were there, club staff wanted to keep their minds engaged. At the same time, they were also learning how to “maximize the strengths of everyone on our staff,” Bishop said. In the end, they were successful. Students stayed connected, the club stayed relevant and the center has not had to shutdown due to any COVID-19 cases.

“In the end, it made us stronger,” Bishop said.

She said the kids handled the adjustment well especially with the masks. Although, there was a time the students attempted to trade masks like Pokémon cards, they put an end to it.

Although the pandemic was tough, Hereth found some successes of his own. He saved money to buy himself a car. He was accepted into the Career and Technology Center’s drafting program and, of course, winning Youth of the Year. Hereth will continue to the state competition where he has a chance to win $2,500 in college scholarship funds.

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