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Boys Town North Florida Alum Is First Recipient of James Dahl Education Award

Billy Martin proudly displayed his diploma after graduating with Godby High School’s class of 2019.

​Billy Martin was a teen struggling in school and in his personal life when he entered a Boys Town North Florida Treatment Family Home in June 2018.

A year later, Billy had completed his program at Boys Town and graduated from Godby High School with a 3.1 grade point average. He also scored a 1420 (out of a possible 1600) on his SAT and a 32 (out of possible 36) on his ACT.

This fall, Billy started classes at Polk State College in Winter Haven, Florida, where he is studying computer systems and business analysis.

Billy's amazing turnaround in the face of great adversity was due in large part to the treatment and care he received in his Boys Town Treatment Family Home. There, he learned social and life skills to deal with is personal issues, and found a new motivation to excel in the classroom. His accomplishments are even more eye-opening when you consider that he missed the second half of his junior year in high school, and faced the possibility of never graduating or continuing his education.

"Billy is an amazing young man who is driven and determined to do well," said Boys Town Consultant Millie Kilpatrick.

In recognition of his outstanding efforts, Billy was the first-ever recipient of the James Dahl Education Award, presented at Boys Town North Florida's Youth Awards Gala in July. The annual event honors all of the youth in the site's Treatment Family Home Program for their academic and personal achievements.

The James Dahl Education Award was created as a memorial to the late son of a longtime friend of Boys Town North Florida. The annual award will help provide financial support to Billy and future recipients as they pursue their career goals, and ensure that youth served by the site have the educational opportunities they need and deserve. This support includes hiring professional tutors to work with youth and providing educational experiences such as art classes and cultural lessons.     

Boys Town North Florida has been helping children and families in the Tallahassee area since opening as the first Boys Town affiliate site in 1983. Every year, the site's programs and services touch the lives of more than 5,000 people throughout the region.