Teen Named Maui Boys & Girls Club “Youth of the Year”

March 25, 2019, 6:54 AM HST · Updated March 25, 6:54 AM
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Chassen Kosi-Cortez

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.

He was among five outstanding youth recognized on Maui.

Chassen will go to Oʻahu on March 29th to contend for the State of Hawaiʻi Youth of the Year title and a $5,000 college scholarship from Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

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 great futures and encourages all kids to lead, succeed and inspire.

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15-year-old Chassen has been a Central Clubhouse member for seven years. At Maui High School, he maintains a 4.0 GPA. 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.

Chassen represented the Central Clubhouse on Wednesday, March 6th 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 (Haʻikū 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.

The winner of 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, DC 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.

All Maui candidates received scholarship funds made possible by the Eugene & Ruth Freedman Family Foundation. The Freedmans were great philanthropists and friends to the Boys & Girls Clubs national movement. Their ongoing advocacy and generosity are changing and saving the lives of Maui’s youth.

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