Free State’s Ruth Gathunguri named Lawrence Youth of the Year for 2nd time

photo by: Jason Dailey Photography/Contributed Photo

Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence Youth of the Year Ruth Gathunguri, a senior at Free State High School, stands behind the lectern during the club’s annual event on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019 at Liberty Hall. Ruth, daughter of Faith Gathunguri and Gilbert Karuga, won the club’s highest honor for the second year in a row and will go on to represent Lawrence at the statewide event in Topeka, which she also won in 2018.

For the second year in a row, Ruth Gathunguri — now a senior at Free State High School — has earned the highest honor of the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence.

“I just felt humbled and honored,” she said in a news release from the organization. “The whole time I was going through Youth of the Year again, I thought, ‘I don’t know, this is my third year of doing it, maybe people are getting tired of seeing me,’ but I felt so honored when they called my name.”

Ruth was also selected as the 2018 Kansas Youth of the Year. She will again go on to represent Lawrence at the state event in Topeka.

The other two finalists were Clay LaPierre, a junior at Lawrence High School, and Allie Martinez, a junior at FSHS. All three gave speeches at a Thursday evening reception at Liberty Hall, following interviews with judges and having their application essays scored.

Ruth, daughter of Faith Gathunguri and Gilbert Karuga, wants to become a school administrator and plans to major in education. She is considering Johnson County Community College for her first two years of school before moving on to the University of Kansas, according to the release.

“This is the community that built me up,” Ruth said in the release. “People say it takes a village to raise a child, and I was raised in this village. Being able to represent the students that I teach at Boys & Girls Club and all of the great things this community has done for me is an honor.”

photo by: Jason Dailey Photography/Contributed Photo

From left to right, Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence Youth of the Year finalists Allie Martinez, a junior at Free State High School; Ruth Gathunguri, FSHS senior; and Clay LaPierre, a junior at Lawrence High, stand on stage during the club’s annual event on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019 at Liberty Hall. Gathunguri, daughter of Faith Gathunguri and Gilbert Karuga, won the club’s highest honor for the second year in a row and will go on to represent Lawrence at the statewide event in Topeka, which she also won in 2018.

photo by: Jason Dailey Photography/Contributed Photo

From left to right, Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence Youth of the Year finalists Clay LaPierre, a junior at Lawrence High School; Allie Martinez, a junior at Free State High School; and Ruth Gathunguri, FSHS senior, stand on stage with Lawrence school district Superintendent Anthony Lewis during the club’s annual event on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019 at Liberty Hall. Gathunguri, daughter of Faith Gathunguri and Gilbert Karuga, won the club’s highest honor for the second year in a row and will go on to represent Lawrence at the statewide event in Topeka, which she also won in 2018.

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