The Distinguished Youth Award was created by the Youth Board in 2011 to recognize youth who are positive role models, have performed outstanding service for their community, and/or have assumed extraordinary roles within their families.


Yates County Youth Bureau Director Alicia Avellaneda introduced the Distinguished Youth at the Feb. 10 Yates County Legislature meeting, where resolutions were unanimously adopted to recognize Kayla Andersen and Eli Raplee.


Kayla Andersen is a senior at Penn Yan Academy. She is a member of National Honor Society, Rotary Interact, Class Treasurer, Yearbook Editor, Art Club Vice President, Band Council Treasurer, International Club President, and a Youth Representative for Milo Center Methodist Church.


Within her letters of recommendation, she was described as a leader among her peers who is not only dedicated to academic excellence, but also as who has a positive impact on her community through various service projects and volunteer efforts.


Eli Raplee is in sixth grade at Dundee Central School.


Avellaneda said, “Eli is a gifted scholar, leader, and athlete who is dedicated to community service within the school. However, it is his incredible character and dedication to his school community that he is receiving this award today. Eli is a peer mentor and was nominated by teachers to be a member of the STARS team. This is a team of students that help spread the word in school about good character. He has been known to go above and beyond to assist another and is an incredible role model for all the students in school. His teachers describe Eli as respectful, responsible, engaged, kind, and empathetic.”


Avellaneda continued, “The theme that repeated in all the letters of recommendation for both students are that they are positive role models and leaders within their community who continually demonstrate their outstanding character by their behaviors. Letters supporting both youths wrote that our community is a better place by having them in it. We couldn’t agree more. Kayla and Eli are the type of person that the Youth Board looks for in a Distinguished Youth. We look forward to hearing about all that they accomplish as they move into adulthood.”