Teen named ‘Youth of the Year’ by Boys & Girls Clubs

Selected among five outstanding youths, Chassen Kosi-Cortez has been named the Youth of the Year by Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui, making him this year’s recipient of a $2,500 scholarship from the Eugene & Ruth Freedman Family Foundation.

The Youth of the Year title is a prestigious honor bestowed upon an exemplary young person in recognition of leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to live a healthy lifestyle. Now in its 72nd year, the Youth of the Year program honors our nation’s most awe-inspiring young people on their path to promising futures and encourages all youths to lead, succeed and inspire.

Kosi-Cortez, 15, has been a Central Clubhouse member for seven years. At Maui High School, he maintains a 4.0 grade-point average. He enjoys expanding his knowledge in math, fashion design, science and chorus and attributes his successful ranking promotion to the values he learned from the club.

“Chassen is a member who attends club consistently. 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,” said Stephen Bennett, director of operations, Boys & Girls Clubs Maui.

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 clubhouses 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.

Kosi-Cortez will go to Oahu on Friday to contend for the State of Hawaii Youth of the Year title and a $5,000 college scholarship from Boys & Girls Clubs of America.