The students of this year’s Y.E.S. grew incredibly close over the course of just one week. While other summer programs geared towards high school students are prone to form cliques, these 44 participants from 38 different states stood out as an exception to teenage stereotypes and consistently looked out for one another, making sure each person was fully included in each of the program’s activities and treated with respect. Since Y.E.S. serves as one of NRA’s investment in the leaders of America’s upcoming generation, seeing these qualities in so many youths that started the summit as strangers serves as a strong reassurance that our country will be in good hands when it is their turn to lead the nation.
Those who are admitted to Y.E.S. know that at $15,000 in college scholarships are awarded to exceptional participants as selected by the chaperones and NRA Staff. However, the students also have the opportunity to recognize each other with peer-voted superlative awards. The categories were determined and the prizes were purchased from NRA Store by NRA Staff before the summit. When the ballots were submitted and counted, NRA staff noticed that practically every participant had been voted for at least once in one category or another, once again showing just how tight-knit a group this year’s group had become over the course of just one week. Both the scholarships and the superlative awards are presented during a semi-formal banquet and ceremony at the conclusion of the week’s events. This year NRA President Jim Porter and his wife Kathryn were present to see the students receive their awards.
Mister Y.E.S. 2014: Tyler Clancy, Beaufort, SC
The “Mister Y.E.S.” award goes to the male student whose peers select him as the best example of a Y.E.S. participant. Tyler consistently stood out as a leader in the group. He was always presentable, attentive, eager to learn, and conducted himself like a southern gentleman (think Atticus Finch for comparison). Tyler was awarded an ACU-style camo cap embroidered with the NRA emblem.
Miss Y.E.S. 2014: Shawna Pantzke, Fargo, ND
The “Miss Y.E.S.” award goes to the female student who exemplifies the same qualities that would distinguish a Mister Y.E.S. candidate above others. Shawna was selected by her peers for her outstanding attitude and outgoing personality. Her conduct also impressed the chaperones and staff, who selected her to be one of four students to participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Shawna was awarded a pink digital camo ball cap to match Mister Y.E.S. 2014.
Most Likely to Chaperone a Future Y.E.S.: Brad Petras, Slidell, LA
Brad’s sense of humor and willingness to help out made earned him the distinction of “Most Likely to Chaperone a Future Y.E.S.” Brad always looked out for the people around him and influenced the entire class with his enthusiasm. On Friday evening when the group was finishing up a picnic dinner, Brad took initiative and started cleaning up the area with a few of his peers. Brad was awarded a travel mug to hold his coffee for those early morning departures when he returns to Y.E.S. as a chaperone.
Best Debater: Savannah Rigby, Titus, AL
This year’s Y.E.S. activities included debates and seminars on current issues pertinent to the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. In both of these events, Savannah stood out as a sharp, witty young woman who can effectively defend one argument while destroying its opponents. She was awarded a primer on the Bill of Rights as a reminder to use her logic and confidence as a speaker to help defend our freedoms.
Most Transformed Since Attending Y.E.S.: CJ Kallevig, Kandiyohi, MN
Many students arrive at Y.E.S. uncertain of the week ahead and tend to start the week behaving quiet and reserved, but by the end of the week you would never think they had ever been shy. CJ was one such student. Over time she became comfortable with the group and stood out in her own right. She was awarded an NRA challenge coin to remind her of her transformation through the Y.E.S. program.
Most Likely to win a Shooting Championship: Emily Hampson, St. Charles, MO
While participation in the shooting sports is not a prerequisite for admission to Y.E.S., many Y.E.S. participants have a strong background in all sorts of shooting disciplines. Emily Hampson was not the only competitive shooter at the summit this year, but even a brief conversation with her would reveal her love for International Trap shooting. Emily even got to discuss trapshooting with NRA President Porter just before she received her award. Emily was awarded a gun cleaning mat to help keep the internal components of her firearm organized while it is disassembled.
Most Likely to join the Military: John Sponaugle, Greeley, CO
Many Y.E.S. participants over the years have joined the military, with several having earned appointments to one of the service academies. Quite a few from this year’s Y.E.S. class had similar aspirations, but John was selected as “Most Likely to join the Military.” He was awarded a book about American special warfare operations.
Most Likely to run for Political Office: Morgan Breneiser, Grand Blanc, MI
Morgan Breneiser drew attention to himself during the summit when he asked Senator Marco Rubio for advice about running for public office after a speech at Hilldale College’s Kirby Center on Capitol Hill. This made Morgan the obvious choice for “Most Likely to run for Political Office.” Morgan was awarded an American flag lapel pin and a pocket Constitution to help kick off his political career when the time comes.
Most Likely to work for the NRA: William Robert, Riesel, TX
William’s passion for the Second Amendment shone throughout the week. He was eager to find out what he could do to bring the NRA into his home community and wore an NRA ball cap at every opportunity. William was awarded an NRA coffee mug to go on his desk when he comes to work for NRA.