EDWARDS AFB – Sh’linda Miller, a 2013 graduate from Desert High School, won the statewide Boys and Girls Club’s Military Youth of the Year title recently, competing against six other gifted contestants. She represented the Edwards Air Force Base Teen Center in this annual competition where grades, essays, community involvement and a speech contest were considered by a panel of judges. Sh’linda’s speech title was “What the Teen Center Means to Me!”
“This is the first time in my 10 years at the Teen Center that we have had a winner at the state level,” said Paul Labella, EAFB Teen Center coordinator. “Sh’linda worked extremely hard for several months to write her speech, memorize and practice presentation skills with the help of Teen Center staff, teachers, family and members of the EAFB Sound Barrier Toastmasters Club.
“It was a privilege to mentor Sh’linda in preparing for the state and regional level contests,” said her primary mentor from Toastmasters, Capt. Bradford Welsh, 412th Test Engineering Squadron. “She responded well to my feedback, she developed poise and confidence and she captures an audience. Toastmasters cultivated my leadership and communication skills and Sh’linda’s victory is a testament to the benefits of the program.”
In her spare time, Sh’linda writes songs and poetry, sings, reads and studies American Sign Language. She is a devoted member of Lancaster Baptist Church in Lancaster, Calif., and this August she will enter West Coast Baptist College in Lancaster studying to become a first grade teacher for Special Needs students. She also wants to continue her studies in ASL to become an interpreter for deaf and hearing-impaired students. Her mother Debra and sister Arlinda both work at the Child Development Center and her sister Belinda works at the EAFB Medical Clinic. She has a total of seven siblings.
Labella said, “We are super proud of her and we wish her all the luck in the world! She is the perfect Youth of the Year candidate not only locally but also state-wide.”