Maui High School student Chassen Kosi-Cortez has been named the Youth of the Year by Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui, earning him a $2,500 scholarship from the Eugene & Ruth Freedman Family Foundation. Kosi-Cortez will travel to O‘ahu on March 29 to contend for the State of Hawai‘i Youth of the Year title and a $5,000 college scholarship from Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
If Kosi-Cortez wins at the state competition, he will compete at the Regional Youth of the Year event for an additional $10,000 college scholarship, renewable for four years up to $40,000. Five regional winners will advance to Washington, D.C. in September 2019 to compete for the title of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year. The National Youth of the Year will receive an additional scholarship of $25,000, renewable each year up to $100,000.
Now in its 72nd year, the Youth of the Year program honors the nation’s most awe-inspiring young people on their path to great futures and encourages all kids to lead, succeed, and inspire. The Youth of the Year honor is bestowed annually upon an exemplary young person in recognition of leadership, service, academic excellence, and dedication to live a healthy lifestyle.
Kosi-Cortez, 15, has been a Central Clubhouse member for seven years. He maintains a 4.0 GPA at Maui High School and enjoys studying math, fashion design, science, and chorus. Kosi-Cortez attributes his successful ranking promotion to the values he learned from the Club.
“Chassen is a member who attends Club consistently,” said Stephen Bennett, director of operations at Boys & Girls Clubs Maui. “His positive attitude and pleasant personality are appreciated by his friends and the Club staff. We are very proud of Chassen for earning this well-deserved honor of Maui Youth of the Year.”
Kosi-Cortez represented the Central Clubhouse on March 6 during the 2019 Eugene & Ruth Freedman Youth of the Year event held at the Hannibal Tavares Community Center in Pukalani. The four other candidates chosen to represent their Clubhouse were Tahiti Ahsam (Paukukalo Clubhouse), Naomi Farnsworth (Makawao Clubhouse), Lynnea Lopez (Lahaina Clubhouse), and Franco Melgar Martich (Haiku Clubhouse).
The teens were judged based on their application packets that included three essays, their school grades, and letters of recommendation, as well as interviews with the panel of judges and a speech they presented during the Youth of the Year event. This year’s judges were Cassie Akina-Ancog, Shay Goodfellow, Wesley Lo, and Ian Manzano.
All Maui candidates received scholarship funds made possible by the Eugene & Ruth Freedman Family Foundation. Their ongoing advocacy and generosity continues to change lives of Maui’s youth, according to Boys & Girls Clubs.
Photo courtesy of Maui Boys & Girls Clubs