Ernesto Farfan says he’s the “StarCraft King.”
When he was 12 years old, the strategic, military computer game enthralled him during summer camp at the Compadre Branch-Chandler Boys and Girls Club.
The 17-year-old Hamilton High School senior still loves StarCraft and is known around the club for his knowledge of the game. But after Thursday night, he’s also noted for anot her accomplishment.
Farfan was named East Valley Youth of the Year at the Boys and Girls Clubs of the East Valley’s 14th annual Youth of the Year Banquet. He won a $1,000 scholarship and will participate in the state competition March 30 in Phoenix.
“If it weren’t for the Boys and Girls Club,” he said, “I don’t think I would be in the situation I’m in now.”
Farfan said he grew up at the community club that keeps children off the streets. His mother registered him and his two younger brothers shortly after moving from Mexico when he was six years old. He said if it wasn’t for the computer lab, basketball court and pool tables at the club, he could have fallen prey to the drugs, gangs and violence in his neighborhood.
Farfan holds a 3.1 grade point average, plays varsity soccer, attended the National Student Leadership Conference in Washington D.C. in 2003 and has a volunteering resume that includes janitorial work at the Christian Community Center, playing chess with senior citizens and delivering food baskets to the homeless. And he works a part-time job on the weekends as a waiter and busboy.
Terry Kling, teen coordinator for the club, said Farfan started setting himself apart from the rest of the teens at the club a couple of years ago because of his grades and the tutoring he does with other club members.
“He’s just a strong role model for other members,” she said. “As soon as he comes into the teen center, they just flock to him.”
Adam Rubio, a 14-year-old freshman at Chandler High School, said he considers Farfan a role model because of his StarCraft skills — and also because of his grades, behavior and leadership.