Maui Teen Wins Hawai‘i Youth of the Year Title

April 9, 2019, 10:46 AM HST · Updated April 9, 10:46 AM
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Maui’s Chassen Kosi-Cortez has been named the State of Hawaiʻi Youth of the Year by Boys & Girls Clubs.  This is the sixth time in 10 years that the state award was issued to a Maui recipient.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui Chief Executive Officer Kelly Pearson with State Youth of the Year Chassen Kosi-Cortez. Chassen now moves on to the regional competition. Courtesy photo BGC.

Kosi-Cortez, with the support of his club staff mentors Jamee Palomique and Tiffany Banggo, represented Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui at the state competition held on March 29 on Oʻahu.

The Maui High School sophomore competed against Youth of the Year winners from Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island and Boys & Girls Club of Hawaiʻi (Oʻahu and Kauaʻi).

Kosi-Cortez, who has been a member at BGCM’s Central Clubhouse for seven years, was chosen to represent Maui after competing against the winners from four other BGCM Clubhouses during the local competition held March 6, 2019.

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He received a $2,500 scholarship from the Eugene and Ruth Freedman Family Foundation for winning the Maui event, and another $5,000 scholarship from Boys & Girls Clubs of America for the state title.

Chassen Kosi-Cortez received a $5,000 college scholarship from Boys & Girls Clubs of America for being named the State of Hawaii Youth of the Year. Courtesy photo BGC.

This summer, Kosi-Cortez will join other state winners in California to vie for the Pacific regional title. If named the regional winner, he will be awarded an additional $10,000 college scholarship, renewable for four years up to $40,000.

Six youth, including five regional winners and a military youth winner, 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 for four years up to $100,000.

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“We are all very proud of Chassen for this great achievement,” said BGCM CEO Kelly Pearson. “He is a great example of a teen who is committed, strong minded, always wanting to do good for others, and yet he is very humble. Chassen, our other Maui Youth of the Year representatives, and all those who were recognized at this year’s event are great ambassadors of what the Boys & Girls Clubs in the State of Hawaiʻi do for our young people,” said Pearson.

Since 1947, Youth of the Year has been Boys & Girls Club of America’s premier recognition program, celebrating the extraordinary achievements of Club teens. Club members who earn the Youth of the Year title embody the values of leadership, service, academic excellence and healthy lifestyles.

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