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BGC holds in-person awards ceremony for students, staff and volunteers after a challenging year

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - The Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater La Crosse honored youth achievements at their 55th annual awards ceremony, in person, on Sunday.

"Youth of the Year" winner Rebecca Strittmater said the BGC helped her get into the Health and Sciences Academy despite a learning disability she developed after ingesting lead poison at an early age.

"Your disability does not define you so just do what you want to do and just succeed in life," Strittmater said. "Me being the first, there can always be people after me. So I'm just a stepping stone to get into it so I hope that people that also have special needs and maybe have those barriers can get into big things."

The BCG awarded her a full ride scholarship to Viterbo University so she can pursue her dream to become an occupational therapist.

"How cool is it going to be when we're talking again in four years and she's walking across the stage at Viterbo University," BGC of Greater La Crosse CEO Jake Erickson said. "Every kid deserves an opportunity, every kid has obstacles, there's kids that have a ton of challenges in our community and every community and for the boys and girls clubs to be a part of that child's life and to help direct them into the future and make them feel special... It's just a really neat thing."

The awards ceremony still took COVID-19 prevention precautions.

People could stream the ceremony virtually and they divided the program into two parts.

Erickson said he's looking forward to planning more events this summer as the community starts opening back up.

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Marcus Aarsvold

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