Exchange Club names Youth of the Year


Cove Leader-Press 


The Exchange Club of Copperas Cove presented Copperas Cove High School Class of 2020 senior and new graduate Richard “Camper” Kirkpatrick with the “Youth of the Year” scholarship and award Friday evening at his home. 

Youth Chair Laura Peterson and Exchange Club members Kyle Matthews and Tami Martin stopped by the Kirkpatrick house to present him with his award and a special banner for the front yard for winning “Youth of the Year.”

Every quarter, the Exchange Club awards a “Youth of the Quarter” to a high school student. The students who apply have to submit an essay and include their GPA, as well as other school and non-school activities. At the end of the year, the four selected students submit an application and one student is selected to be the “Youth of the Year”, according to Peterson. 

The club focuses on the student’s overall image and activities, not just their grades, she added. 

“You have good grades. You give back to the community,” Peterson said. “You do things well, do the right things, and that’s what Camper did. He has a lot of volunteer stuff. He’s worked throughout all four years doing things.”

Being an Exchange Club “Youth of the Year” runs in Kirkpatrick’s family, with his parents, Rick and Angela Kirkpatrick, as well as sister Kaylyn Kirkpatrick, each earning the award in years past. 

Kirkpatrick was involved in band, Student Council, the National Honor Society and class officers, all of which he attributes to driving him to a leadership position that helped him develop into the person he is today. 

“And all those different organizations that helped me throughout high school also helped the people around me and that really just kind of defined my personality,” Kirkpatrick added. 

Kirkpatrick said it was an honor to receive the award, especially considering his family’s history with the award. 

“I’m really happy to just be the person that our exchange club needed in order to go compete at the District level, and I’m really thankful for everything they do for the community, and I’m really gracious for receiving this scholarship,” Kirkpatrick said. 

Peterson explained that the Exchange Club’s goal with its scholarship and awards is to help bring attention to good kids and encourage them to be good people. The effect that the scholarship has is immeasurable- some students would not have gotten started on their college education and career without the scholarship, Peterson added.

Kirkpatrick plans to attend Texas A&M University in the fall and major in mechanical engineering. The $1,000 scholarship from the Exchange Club will help Kirkpatrick keep the deal he made with his parents about paying for college, he said.

After he graduates from Texas A&M, Kirkpatrick said he hopes to be employed at an engineering firm “in order to help better the society around me and in order to help develop different methods and different ways of doing things and changing things in ways that will help benefit society.”

As the Exchange Club of Copperas Cove’s “Youth of the Year”, Kirkpatrick advances to compete at the District Level and ultimately will have an opportunity to compete for the National Youth of the Year Award. 

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