A high school senior from Belfair, a senior from Lakewood and a junior from Tacoma have been awarded the top Youth of the Year honors by the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound.
Karlee Cossette of North Mason High School received the top prize at the recent Legacy of Hope event in Tacoma. She was awarded a $3,500 scholarship from Boys & Girls Clubs and will move on to the State Youth of the Year competition, with a chance to advance all the way to nationals.
The other two finalists were Xavier Means, a senior at Clover Park High School in Lakewood, and Taejonae McKenzie, a junior at the Lincoln Center at Lincoln High School in Tacoma. Means and McKenzie each received a $2,000 scholarship.
The award recognizes outstanding contributions to a member’s family, school, community, and Boys & Girls Club, as well as personal challenges and obstacles overcome. Finalists were determined by candidate essays, one-on-one interviews and a speech.
Other Youth of the Year candidates, each nominated by a different local branch of the organization in Pierce, Kitsap and Mason counties, will take home $1,000 scholarships as well as an invitation to attend the UW Tacoma as part of the Great Futures program. They include:
• Cassie Tudor, senior, Spanaway Lake High School.
• Velvet Sewell, senior, Charles Wright Academy.
• Savontai Collins, senior, Curtis High School.
• Karl Ortiz, senior, Gig Harbor High School.
• Alex Sanquist, senior, South Kitsap High School.
• Choya Jones, senior, Klahowya Secondary School.