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Amazing Kids deliver as promised

Sandy's Dylan Kenney among recipients of prestigious award

Following a passion — especially one for community service — can inspire others and build a brighter future.

That was the message from former Portland Trail Blazer Terry Porter to the Pamplin Media Group’s 2016 Amazing Kids honorees. The region’s 25 recipients of the annual recognition were celebrated at a gala event featuring Porter on Monday in Portland. TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Coral Lara Rizo, an Aloha High School student, is the 2016 Amazing Kid for the Beaverton Valley Times. Each newspaper in Pamplin Media Group selected an Amazing Kid from the community they serve. Here, Rizo receives her award from Pamplin Media Group President Mark Garber and guest speaker Trail Blazer great Terry Porter.

“Hopefully you guys will inspire other young kids to come along with you,” Porter said. “I think our future is in tremendous hands and I think these guys have done a tremendous job of starting their young lives out.”

The former Blazer, who broke several records during his 17-year NBA career, gave the kids a basketball analogy.

“Every community in the state of Oregon is a team and we are all players on that team,” Porter said, encouraging them to work together. “When we do that, everyone wins.”TRIBUNE PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - The cohort of Pamplin Media Group's 2016 Amazing Kids from across Oregon in the IMAX theater of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, May 9.

Among the young people on the Amazing Kids roster was Dylan Kenney, who lives in Gresham and attends Sandy High School.

The 2016 Amazing Kids, their families and supporters got a chance to mingle with Pamplin Media Group reporters, editors and staff, as well as sponsors and celebrities at the event hosted by Oregon Museum of Science & Industry, an event sponsor.

Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, said people often talk about kids who are making the wrong choices, but this was a chance to highlight kids with an ethic of community service.

“Here, we’re celebrating kids making good choices,” Johnson said. “I think this is a wonderful way to celebrate young people in our community.”TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ  - Coral Lara Rizo, Beaverton's 'Amazing Kid,' was one of 25 Oregon kids honored at a special event Monday in Portland.

The parents of Anna Seely, the Lake Oswego Review’s 2016 Amazing Kid, said they wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

“We’re just super proud of Anna and what she’s accomplished the last 18 months,” said her mother, Kim Seely.

“We’ve always thought that she’s pretty fantastic, pretty amazing,” said Paul Carlson, father of the Canby Herald’s 2016 Amazing Kid AdriAnne Carlson. “But now the world can see it, too.” TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Kasey Yoke, Tigard's 'Amazing Kid,' was one of 25 Oregon kids honored at a special event Monday in Portland.

Deepak Vijay, the Hillsboro Tribune’s 2016 Amazing Kid, said he felt that the event was very prestigious.

“It’s really nice to have recognition and meet with other Amazing Kids,” Vijay said.

His mother, Kowsalya Vijay, said her son is so busy, he doesn’t tend to look for accolades. “I always felt like he needed recognition, and this big appreciation came his way, so it’s really nice,” she said.

For Madras Pioneer 2016 Amazing Kid Gavin Begay of Warm Springs, the suit-and-tie, catered affair at the Theory Eatery was a new experience.

“I’m used to being recognized by Native Americans, but not other ethnicities, I guess,” Begay said. “It’s a different but good experience.”

Amity Humphery of Tualatin said she was nervous while getting ready for the event, but she was happy to be recognized for her fundraising work for an orphanage in China. The 9-year-old vowed to continue doing service projects.

The event’s major sponsors included Fred Meyer, who recognized each Amazing Kid with a $200 gift certificate. TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Amity Humphrey, center, poses for a photo with basketball great Terry Porter, left, and Pamplin Media Group president Mark Garber, right. Amity was Tualatin's Amazing Kid this year.

Think you’ve got an Amazing Kid? Your hometown newspaper will start taking nominations again in February 2017.