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JBPHH Youth of the Year creates 'safe space' for teens

Talon Anderson, son of U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Cecil Anderson, 74th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, was named 2020 Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Teen Center’s Youth of the Year at JBPHH, Hawaii. Anderson exceled as the Keystone Club president by helping his peers particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy photo)

Talon Anderson, son of U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Cecil Anderson, 74th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, was named 2020 Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Teen Center’s Youth of the Year at JBPHH, Hawaii. Anderson exceled as the Keystone Club president by helping his peers particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy photo)

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii --

A run for president of the Keystone Club combined with a pandemic created an opportunity for one JBPHH teen culminating in earning JBPHH Teen Center’s Youth of the Year.

Although 16-year-old Talon Anderson ran for president, he originally opted to serve as the vice-president until the former president went to college—until COVID-19 resulted in his presidency.

“I wanted everyone to have a safe space to hang-out and meet people,” said Anderson.

As Keystone Club president, Anderson plans and executes community outreach events and Teen Center activities.

“He remains committed to serving his fellow teens,” said Mary Agluba, JBPHH Teen Center staff member.

Despite his age, Anderson lived in Colorado, Texas, Illinois, Texas, Missouri, Colorado, Alabama, and now Hawaii, as a result of his father, Sgt. 1st Class Cecil Anderson, 74th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, who serves in the U.S. Army.

“I think it’s amazing to have this experience and travel and move places,” said Talon, who also has a younger brother. “It teaches you to adapt to new things.”

Of all the places, Anderson prefers Colorado as it is the place he’s lived the longest—all of five years.

“Alabama was also nice because we were only there a year so we were homeschooled and we traveled all over the country before coming to an island,” said the Hawaii Technology Academy student.

Alabama is also where Anderson took lessons modeled after the television show, “American Ninja Warrior.”

“I started at the basic level for kids and pushed harder to the adult level,” he said. “Now I have a peg board at home and workout with my dad.”

Both Andersons plan to complete the Murph Challenge in honor of U.S. Navy Lt. Michael P. Murphy in May.

In addition to physical challenges, Anderson also challenged himself academically to graduate high school this year.

“I went to summer school to take a class each year,” he said to graduate early. “I also had to pass each class the first time.”

After high school, Anderson plans to enter the civilian workforce.

Looking back as his time as a military child, Anderson has some advice for his fellow military children.

“It’s going to be tough, but make sure you know how to learn and take things out of it because you’ve done a lot and have more knowledge,” he said.