Fort Polk's own Markleen Moussignac, a Leesville High School sophomore, has been named the Boys and Girls Club 2018 Military Youth of the Year for Louisiana. Military Youth of the Year is a Boys and Girls Club character and leadership program that recognizes club members who demonstrate academic achievement, leadership skills and service to the community.

The Boys and Girls Club at Fort Polk is hosted by Child and Youth Services Middle School and Teen Program where Markleen is president of the Keystone Club (Boys and Girls Club teen program).

Markleen competed with students from across the state in Baton Rouge March 29-30 where she was interviewed by a panel of judges. Also part of the judging was a three minute speech crafted by Markleen and perfected over the course of several months.

The top honors garnered her a $5,000 scholarship to be used at the college of her choice. In June, Markleen moves on to the regional competition in Atlanta where the prize is a $10,000 scholarship. Beyond regionals is the national competition. The winner there earns a $50,000 scholarship, a vehicle and endorsement by the Boys and Girls Club.

Originally from Haiti, Markleen has immersed herself in the CYS Middle School and Teen Program where she is also instrumental in the “progressive bus tour” — a program that allows teens new to Fort Polk the opportunity to learn about life on the installation.

The years she has spent as an MST member are unforgettable, Markleen said.

“The impact that MST has had on my life is phenomenal. I am a more confident and helpful person because of it. Since coming to MST I have been able to serve my community and that has opened my eyes to the world. I will always remember everyone I have met at the Middle School and Teen Program.”

Winning the competition was not only a shock for Markleen, but also for Loretta McGowan, workforce preparation specialist at CYS. McGowan accompanied Markleen to Baton Rouge and has served as her mentor at MST.

“Markleen was extremely nervous but excited right before the speech, and we were both shocked when they named her the winner. It seems surreal. I’m so proud of her. Markleen is filled with dedication and passion — and she remains humble always,” said McGowan.

The Boys and Girls Club of America National Youth of the Year program has honored and celebrated the nation’s most inspiring youth and their incredible stories.

Involved youth, said McGowan, will make a difference to the nation.

“These youth have changed the face of future leaders. Youth of the Year from across the country have gone on to impact our communities by becoming college professors, motivational speakers, doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs and more. Some have even gone back to work at their local clubs, providing mentorship and guidance to kids and teens to help them shape their path toward a great future,” McGowan said.

Markleen said she embraces that future and this blooming future leader has high aspirations.

“I want to keep serving my community, participate in MST and attend Princeton or the University of Rochester (New York). I want to become a child therapist.”

Markleen is the daughter of retired Soldier Mackson Moussignac and his spouse, Lencie.