HS freshman awarded Youth of the Year by GR Boys and Girls Club

Zsana Hoskins talks to 24 Hour News 8 after receiving the Youth of the Year award from the Boys and Girls Club of Grand Rapids. (March 7, 2017)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Zsana Hoskins speaks like someone who has vast life experience and wisdom, and yet she’s a freshman in high school.

That wisdom beyond her years, and her dedication to helping others, earned her the Grand Rapids Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year award for 2017.

“I was surprised, usually freshman aren’t picked over seniors or juniors or sophomores, even so I was very surprised,” Hoskins explained about the moment she found out she won. In fact, club leaders believe she is the youngest award recipient yet.

Hoskins is raised by a single mom, and has three younger brothers. Her grandmother also plays a big role in supporting her, but the Boys and Girls Club has been a valuable outlet in her life since she was 10 years old.

“To realize that not all adults are strict teachers, it’s more like a friendship. The relationship with the staff and the members that go there has really grown over the years,” she explained.

The Youth of the Year award dates back to 1947 and rewards club members based on several factors, including academic success, strong moral character, life goals, poise, and public speaking ability. There were four finalists who all exemplified the qualities the judges consider, but Hoskins stood out.

She answered one question about how she would like to enact positive changes, by saying she wants to listen.

“Listening is pretty important because everyone has opinions… I think that especially today where we’re kind of stuck in our own beliefs and our own political views, to listen to everyone else’s opinions and mix them into a big group and come up with a huge idea, if you’re working with other people it just makes everything more relevant.”

Hoskins hopes to star on Broadway or be in a movie one day. “Anything in the Arts,” she said.

Given her achievements already in life, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see her name in lights.