The Boys & Girls Club State Youth of the Year runner-up wanted to show his appreciation to State Rep. Nick Bain for his kindness following the competition in Jackson.
Boys & Girls Club Unit Director Christy Grice and Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Thomas Norman helped the Corinth High School student say thanks in a surprise fashion Tuesday morning.
"I am taken aback," said Bain of the gift bag presented to him by the trio. "I am proud of the example Cortez is setting. Helping young people achieve what they want to achieve is a blessing of my job … you can't put a price on that."
Bain sent a copy of the photo which appeared in the Daily Corinthian of Spence and Rep. Jeramey D. Anderson at the awards luncheon.
"He made me feel special along with the club," added Spence. "I realized he was thinking of me and I wanted to give him a little token of my appreciation."
A member of the Corinth Warrior band, Spence earned a $1,000 scholarship from The Alliance for his runner-up finish. He also will be allowed to compete in the competition again next year.
"We are going to keep grooming him for next year," said Norman.
"Our goal is for him to win the award," added Grice.
Spence met Anderson, a former winner of the club honor, during the competition. Anderson is the youngest African American ever elected to the legislative in U.S. history. At the age of 22, Anderson was also the youngest member elected to the Mississippi Legislature.
"It was a great experience for me," said Spence. "I have a great support system."
"It's important to keep legislators informed of what the club is doing," added Norman. "We have to get the word out on the many great things the club offers kids."
The youth of the year winner earns $50,000 and an opportunity to meet the president.