Tara Sharma, a senior at Augusta Preparatory Day School, was named Youth of the Year winner Thursday by the Exchange Club of Augusta.
Tara, the daughter of Gary and Sarita Sharma, was among 12 high school seniors competing for the annual award. Each of the students, who submitted essays on the topic Americas Youth Stepping Forward to Change the Beat of America, received a check for $100, a certificate and a plaque.
Tara received an additional $350 and will have an opportunity to compete on a regional and national level for a $10,000 scholarship. She has a 3.7 grade-point average, is a member of the National Honor Society, has been recognized for superior performance for three years in the National Federation of Music Competition and won a 2008 Converse Junior Scholar Award.
Other students honored by the club at a luncheon Thursday were:
Aaron J. Umansky of Westside High School, Caroline I. Mullins of Westminster Schools, Ashley S. Weaver of A.R. Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet School, Cree Downs of Glenn Hills High School, Melany Lopez of Augusta Christian Schools, Jameson Meadows of the Academy of Richmond County, Shelby Roberts of John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet High School, Tiffany Williams of Lakeside High School, Parveen K. Dhillon of Greenbrier High School, Tony Miller Jr. of Hephzibah High School and Bennie J. Stephens II of Aquinas High School.
Each year the Exchange Club honors a group of high school seniors for their work ethic, accomplishments and overall pursuit of excellence, according to a statement accompanying the awards.