City’s Youth Awards nominees recognized at council

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By The Staff

COMMERCE CITY — City Council recognized nine local youths during the March 17 meeting who will represent Commerce City at the Adams County Mayors and Commissioners Youth Awards (ACMCYA).

The ACMCYA award program provides businesses, community and civic leaders the opportunity to recognize youth ages 13 to 19 that have overcome personal diversity and created positive changes in their lives.

“These nine nominees are inspiring examples of the outstanding youth within our community,” said Mayor Sean Ford. “Thank you to the sponsors, families and staff that help put this program together to recognize our teens.”

Teens are nominated by counselors, parents, coaches and teachers for local and county consideration. Three of the city’s nominees will be honored as Adam County’s Top 20 students at an April 17 banquet at Riverside Country Club, including: Josie Samson, Genavee Gonzales and Daniel Olvera.

The individual nominees are: 


• Damon Denham: Damon has faced a variety of medical and developmental conditions. Despite doubts, Damon surpassed what doctors said he would be able to accomplish and has become an athlete, a student, a leader and all-around caring person. Damon helps his elderly neighbors, fundraises for local nursing homes, mentors younger children and plays basketball, football and wrestling.


  • Daniel Olvera: Daniel has overcome bad choices, choosing to turn his life around and be a positive role model for others by aspiring to become a police officer. Daniel has raised his grades and adopted a positive attitude so that he can achieve his dream and help at-risk kids.


• Valyntine Lonergan: Valyntine has had many challenges and obstacles in her life but has persevered while being a great role model for others. He father has been a big part of her life, encouraging her to do well in school. Valyntine spends much of her time mentoring younger students, helping them feel comfortable at school and motivating them to reach their goals.


• Genavee Gonzales: Genavee maintains excellent grades and is part of the “Where Everyone Belongs” group, which is a school mentorship program for younger students. Her nominator stated that, “Genavee is someone who has not let difficulties in life define her, but help her aspire to succeed.”


• Alyssa Apodaca: Alyssa, with the support and encouragement from her mother, has made the choice to work hard in school, go to college and be successful. Alyssa is responsible and helps look out for her sister when she needs it. She is involved in several leadership groups and is a great role model for her friends.


• Sandra Soto: Sandra has overcome some difficult times, but despite the tough situations presented with, she was not going to let what happened stop her from reaching her goals. Sandra has set a goal of attending college and becoming a lawyer. She is involved in sports, the Boys & Girls Club, and mentoring.


  • Dorthia McMullen: Dorthia is an eighth-grader and despite her unstable home life, she is a leader in her community. She is a WEB leader, where she serves as a mentor to younger students; she plans and organizes school events, and is also involved in a youth group at her church.


• Josie Samson: Josie is a middle school student who was born with a heart defect and has undergone 21 surgeries, with multiple complications. Josie’s adversity has given her a unique perspective. This attitude permeates her life.


• Dante Brewton: Dante is an eighth-grader and despite missing many school days due to a serious illness, he has maintained high expectations for his academic success. Dante serves as a role model for his peers, showing that there is no excuse for not putting school first.