With great honor, ThurstonTalk.com had the opportunity to attend the Governor’s Breakfast Reception for the 2018 Youth of the Year Award Finalists on March 21, 2018. The Youth of the Year program is run by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and aims to “recognize outstanding contributions to a member’s family, school, community and Boys & Girls Club, as well as personal challenges and obstacles overcome.”

boys girls club youth year 2018
Governor Inslee speaking on his memories at a Boys & Girls Club.  Photo credit: Spencer Spotts

There are 14 teens from Washington competing for Boys & Girls Club of Washington State Youth of the Year title. The national winner receives an additional scholarship up to $50,000 and will meet the President in the Oval Office. Governor Jay Inslee spoke to the youth and other attendees about the importance of public service and how his own experiences with Boys & Girls Clubs impacted his life. Later, Rep. Andrew Barkis presented each finalist with an official award.

The following youth are the 2018 Washington Youth of the Year finalists:

Yana Shabanov, Boys & Girls Clubs of Bellevue
Khairi Perry, Boys & Girls Clubs of King County
Kayla Ent’e, Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound
Ayla Chau, Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County
Katherine Wilton, Boys & Girls Clubs at JBLM
Kiana Gonzales, Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County
Zane Castilleja, Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton and Franklin Counties
Lazarya Grayson, Boys & Girls Clubs of Spokane County
Liam Wilson, Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County
Lusana Spitler, Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County
Heidi O’Leary, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula
Alliyah Kister, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Columbia Basin
Courtney Sousa, Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Washington.
Lilli Havens, Fairchild Air Force Base, Boys & Girls Clubs affiliated Youth Center.

Additionally, the Governor’s Community Service Scholarship was awarded at the reception to Kayla Ent’e from the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound. The scholarship is awarded to “one outstanding teen who has clearly demonstrated excellence in serving their community, and who clearly indicates they will continue to invest in their community in the future through a career in public service.”

Congratulations to all of the finalists and we wish them the best of luck as they progress through the program. Regardless of the outcome, we at ThurstonTalk are proud of your leadership and dedication to our communities.

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