December 1 marked the 10th anniversary of the Jake Agna Award at King Street Center. Established in 2011, the Jake Agna Award is presented annually to a King Street Center youth who exhibits a high level of leadership, engagement, curiosity, humor, teamwork and respect for self and others.

Joe Ruggles, Teen Program Director, shared the following thoughts:

“The Jake Agna Award is built upon the following pillars of excellence – leadership, engagement, curiosity, humor, teamwork and respect for self and others. This year, Ashish was nominated and selected for the award. Many current teens could have won this award, but I want to highlight why we felt Ashish was the perfect choice.

Leadership – A great example of this was over the summer while working on the lemonade stand. Probably one of the more nervous workers to start the summer, Ashish ended up working the most hours of any teen after picking up numerous shifts for his peers when they couldn’t work. He was a strong participant in job club, completed all his bank paperwork quickly and modeled hard work on the stand during every shift.

Curiosity – One of the most curious youth I’ve ever worked with. I feel like Ashish asks me twenty questions every day. They are great questions, such as when I first started to get armpit hair. I’m happy he comes to me or other staff for advice.

Engagement – Ashish attends the teen program daily. He participates in various activities and always does so with a positive attitude. He sets a great example of this every day during boost, as he works hard to complete his homework or math multiplication worksheets to earn King Street Bucks.

*Side note – Ashish recently offered 20 of his hard-earned King Street Bucks to a friend so they could have enough money saved up in order to get something really special.

Humor – Full of hilarious statements, Ashish is extremely funny without actually trying to be funny. I can quote him calling me a “cool man-baby” because I used to sometimes play video games and he admitted his admiration for Kachi by saying “I like Kachi, he helps me with my homework, he likes anime and he’s super ripped.”

Teamwork – Ashish is a great teammate. He always plays hard, he always plays fair and he always has fun doing it. He models excellent sportsmanship on a daily basis.

Respect for self and others – One thing I really appreciate and admire about Ashish is his ability to voice his feelings. There are times when Ashish, like everyone, can become upset or worried or annoyed, etc. He truly advocates for himself and lets staff know exactly how he is feeling.

All of this to me really shows how deserving Ashish is of this award. We are proud of you. Be proud of yourself. Keep being the best version of you. Congrats”!

Jake Agna was able to join the event and shared about Ashish. “I know him from schools tennis. We’re looking for a leaders – that’s what Ashish is – I’m humbled. I’m really happy that this guy got it. He’s an example of the way we should act. I miss King Street. Thank you”

Chase Rosenberg, a Edmunds Middle School teacher, brought the ceremony to a close with the following statement about Ashish. “I can stand up here and tell you guys what a hard worker he is, but you already know that. Here’s what makes Ashish special and makes him stand out. When people aren’t looking, he does the right thing. Not sometimes. Not once in a while. All the time. When he is in our classroom, he reaches out to people. When people need help. Everybody needs help sometimes. Nobody is perfect – everybody could use help from a friend. One hundred percent of the time, Ashish is that person. He’s that person that says, ‘Let me hold that for you. Let me show you how to fix this. Let me show you how to run a power tool in the shop. And that’s why he’s standing up here today. He is, indeed, a very special person. And I personally could not be more proud of him. I’m going to give him a hug right now!”