A Prosser High School senior was named the Boys & Girls Clubs of Washington State 2016 Youth of the Year at a ceremony in Seattle on Thursday.
Sebastian “Zebbie” Castilleja was chosen to represent the greater Tri-Cities at the state level after being selected in February as the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton and Franklin Counties 2016 Youth of the Year.
“This really isn’t about me. It’s about what the club does for each of us to become productive and responsible citizens,” Castilleja said. “I am so thankful to have mentors at the Boys & Girls Club who support me no matter what. This wouldn’t be possible without them.”
Castilleja, 18, was among 11 Youth of the Year winners across the state to compete for the title. He was chosen for the top honor by 10 state and national judges based on his outstanding character, leadership skills and willingness to give back to the community, according to a release.
This is the second prestigious award Castilleja received this week. On Wednesday, Gov. Jay Inslee presented him with the $2,500 Community Service Scholarship in recognition of his volunteer achievements and career choice of becoming a police officer.
I am so thankful to have mentors at the Boys & Girls Club who support me no matter what. This wouldn’t be possible without them.
Sebastian “Zebbie” Castilleja
As the Washington State Youth of the Year, Castilleja also receives $5,000 in college sponsorships.
“I am incredibly honored to have been selected as the Boys & Girls Club’s 2016 Washington State Youth of the Year,” Castilleja said. “I am looking forward to representing the 79,000 club youth from throughout our state.”
In his new role as state representative, Castilleja will attend Boys & Girls Club of America’s Advanced Leaders Institute in June. The institute is an in-depth teen leadership conference experience that helps strengthen leadership and the professional brand of the state and military youths of the year.
Castilleja will compete for the title of Pacific Regional Youth of the Year in Los Angeles in July.
“Zebbie is a shining example of the outcome and impact the Boys & Girls Club has on community children and teens,” said Brian Ace, executive director of the locla club. “We are so proud that Zebbie will represent club youth as an ambassador throughout Washington state.”