Qymane Brawner, 17, has overcome many obstacles in his short lifetime.
Despite an absent father, Brawner was driven to invest in his future and give back to his community.
On Friday, his hard work earned him an important title: Youth of the Year.
The Gainesville High School student was awarded by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County at a banquet at the Frances Meadows Aquatic and Community Center in Gainesville.
"I feel very good, and it's very rewarding," Brawner said. "The Boys & Girls club has been like a family to me."
Brawner joined the club when he was 7 years old and said it has provided him with people to look up to and value.
"When I was young, I had low self-esteem and weight issues. I turned to my father for support, but he wasn't around," Brawner said. "My mom always kept my spirits up."
Despite the challenges, Brawner has kept a 3.6 grade-point average. He is also active in school activities and volunteers for the Boys & Girls Clubs.
Brawner said he hopes to attend Brown University or the University of Georgia and major in international business and marketing management.
His next step is to compete against Boys & Girls Clubs members from across the state this March for the Georgia Youth of the Year title and a $1,000 scholarship. The competition is held in Atlanta.
Other finalists were Gainesville High School students Tyeisha Williams, Shanice Ellison and Alexis Hawks.
Youth of the Year is awarded annually to a local Boys & Girls Clubs member who not only contributes to his or her family and school but has overcome personal obstacles to rise to the top in the community.