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Confident about our youth

For generations, young people have gotten an undeserved poor reputation among those older than them.

Older generations almost always look down on younger folk as a whole, branding them as troublemakers, unfocused, lacking work ethic or just plain lazy.

This criticism has always been unfair, but from where we sit, it’s especially unreasonable to describe the current generation of young people as such.

For evidence, one need look no further than the pages of this newspaper, where we regularly run stories about the accomplishments and service-mindedness of Suffolk’s up-and-coming model citizens.

Another story published in Thursday’s paper highlights this phenomenon. The story was about the Suffolk Office on Youth’s Suffolk Youth Achievement Awards given at the Planters Club on Tuesday.

The awards were started in 2009 to celebrate the accomplishments of young people that may otherwise have gone unappreciated. Recognition is available in the areas of athletics, performing arts, community service, leadership, group citizenship and the Rising Star Award, recognizing a young person who has committed to improving his or her academic and behavioral performance.

In this year’s awards, Trinity Woodson, a Lakeland High School senior, was honored with the Outstanding Community Service Award. Aaron Whear, a Nansemond River High School junior and member of the football and wrestling teams, earned the Outstanding Athletic Achievement Award. Josiah Patrick, a sixth-grader at John Yeates Middle School, received the Outstanding Youth Leadership Award. Tyshawn Gray, an eighth-grader at King’s Fork Middle School, was honored with the Rising Star Award. And the King’s Fork High School Ecology Club was honored with the Outstanding Group Citizenship Award.

The detailed presentations spoke to why each of these young people deserved the award, and the list of positive attributes and actions each of these honorees embody is, unfortunately, too much for this space.

Suffice it to say that it’s all praise from here about the youngest members of our community. We’re feeling pretty confident about our future with people like Trinity, Aaron, Josiah, Tyshawn and the members of the King’s Fork Ecology Club at the helm.