Portage High School is rich in tradition, with its many events, competitions, and more. On February 3rd, the school hosted its annual Outstanding Young Man competition, where senior boys participated in a series of events to win scholarship money and the title of Portage High School’s Outstanding Young Man.
The competition, inspired by the Distinguished Young Women scholarship program, sees the competing young men go through five categories of judging: academics, judges interview, physical, casual, and presentation. Portage Police Chief Troy Williams has directed or hosted the event for the last eight years.
“It’s one of the best programs the school has to offer,” said Williams. “Sometimes I think enough people don’t know about it, because if your kid’s not in it, it’s probably not something you’re coming to. But it’s such a great program, and we give the money back to the contestants in the form of scholarship money.”
Former Portage High School Teacher Joe Stevens created the event as a companion to the school’s Junior Miss program, which later became the Distinguished Young Women program. It gives the talented young men a chance to take the stage and showcase their knowledge, style, professionalism, and drive.
“I love working with the boys,” said Williams. “It’s a chance see them come together on the stage, working with one another. All these kids are doing good things, and there’s not enough of that out there. We just want to further that.”
This year, 16 Outstanding Young Men worked hard to showcase their best to the community. All of them did an incredible job, and supported each other. RJ Ruiz earned the title of Portage High School’s 2018 Outstanding Young Man.
The program is a huge boon for these ambitious students, as each year it raises between $5,000 and $6,000 in scholarship funding. It takes a lot of work from the students, organizers, and other volunteers to put the event together, but the biggest reward is seeing everything come together when the young men take the stage.
“For parents and students thinking about doing it, come out in the future,” suggested Williams. “It’s a good program, this year we had 16 kids but we’ve had upwards of 30 kids before. They get a lot out of it, and learn about themselves, so we encourage high school seniors to do it.”
Congratulations RJ Ruiz, and all the participating Outstanding Young Men. Credit and thanks for the photos goes to Chief Williams, the parents and families of this year’s participants, and Portage High School.