NORFOLK NAVAL SHIPYARD, Portsmouth, Va. –
Champion. Courageous. Passionate. These are just a few words people use to describe Dasia Bandy, the 2019 National Military Youth of the Year winner, a first for Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY).
“When the Boys and Girls Clubs of America announced Dasia’s name as National Military Youth of the Year, I was amazed. Not surprised, but amazed,” said NNSY’s Child and Youth Program Assistant Dyra Babine.
Bandy, a senior at Grassfield High School, in Chesapeake, Va., won the Virginia Military Youth of the Year award this past spring. This gave her the opportunity to compete against the other state winners from the Southeast Region.
NNSY’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Director Chad Rickner said Bandy followed Janasia Underwood, a 2018 participant NNSY’s youth programs, by winning the Southeast Region Military Youth of the Year competition. This win advanced her to nationals to compete against other regional winners.
“Going to nationals gave her a chance to use her voice and give her message to people from around the world,” said Joshua Kester, NNSY’s Team Coordinator of the Youth Center.
“This is what I’m supposed to be doing,” said Bandy. “I am supposed to be speaking on behalf of others, being the amplifier for those that can’t say it loud enough and for those who are scared to say it at all.”
The National Military Youth of the Year competition took place in Washington D.C. Bandy competed for the title against the winners of the other five regions. Through stiff competition, Bandy earned the title of National Military Youth of the Year.
“Not only did she represent Norfolk Naval Shipyard and its youth, but she represented the U.S. Navy and its youth as well, being the only finalist from a naval institution,” said Deputy Shipyard Commander Capt. Dan Rossler. “We are proud of her and she will go a long ways serving her community and her country.”
The National Youth of the Year of Boys and Girls Clubs of America began in 1947, but it wasn’t until 2013 when the National Military Youth of the Year competed in the program as its own separate region. Although Bandy did not win the National Youth of the Year, she still plays an important role not only for her peers but all those around her.
“The best way to lead and teach people is to live, lead, and love by example,” said Bandy. “My youth center has taught me to be a leader that loves beyond gender, ethnicity, and demographics to bring out the best in every person I connect with.”
Dasia aspires to create a conference centered around self-love. Upon high school graduation in 2020, she plans to attend at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and to become an orthopedic surgeon.