Community and school spirit seem to come naturally for Coupeville High School senior Jai’Lysa Hoskins, 17.
A good student, a good athlete and a good role model, Hoskins has been chosen as the Coupeville Boys and Girls Club’s first ever Youth of the Year.
“It’s such a big honor,” she said. “And being this is the first one, it’s an honor they want it to be me.”
“The Youth of the Year is someone who represents what the Boys and Girls Club is striving to achieve,” said Boys and Girls Club Program Director Jo-Ellen Fischbach. “I’m thrilled we have such an amazing youth who does everything in her power to succeed.”
The Boys and Girls Club looks for qualities of character, service and leadership in its Youth of the Year, as those are the qualities that are promoted by the club throughout the year.
If selected by the Snohomish County Boys and Girls Club (of which Coupeville is a part), Hoskins could advance to the state, regional or even the national level.
Hoskins has been part of the Boys and Girls Club since she moved from Oak Harbor to Coupeville in middle school.
Although it was a tough age to have to move to a new district where she didn’t know anyone, she said the move inspired her to get involved.
“There’s just something about this town that makes you want to do more, to give back,” she said.
The daughter of William Hoskins and Benita Miller, Hoskins has an older brother and two younger sisters. Succeeding in school has always been important to her family.
“My mom has always told us that we need school,” Hoskins said. “She said we need an education to get a good job, so she’s really pushed us.”
In school, Hoskins said she is good at math, but doesn’t have a favorite subject. She’s currently taking psychology and statistics classes through the Running Start program, which has sparked an interest in psychology she would like to pursue in college.
“I’d like to become a counselor,” she said.
Hoskins has applied to Eastern Washington University and is hoping to get her acceptance letter any day.
In the mean time, her studies, sports and various volunteer activities keep her busy.
She is involved in cheerleading, basketball and track.
She’s also an officer in the National Honor Society, part of which requires at least four hours of community service every month. Hoskins has found her niche in volunteering; she teaches class every month at her church and helps with the Special Olympics.
“It’s such a humbling experience,” she said. “To be there helping feels really good and I get to teach them sports that I like doing.”
Her favorite experience has been as a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Island County. She has been a Big Sister for seventh grader Kyla Briscoe for more than a year.
“This organization is my absolute favorite to volunteer for because I get to work one-on-one with Kyla,” said Hoskins. “She is funny and caring, we have so much fun together. As a Big Sister I help her with homework and any other troubles she might have. We have a very close friendship and we aren’t shy about it.”
Working with children seems to come naturally to Hoskins as well.
She started volunteering to help with summer camps for the Boys and Girls Club, and applied for a summer internship, which turned into a part time job.
Hoskins said she values the work experience.
“Finding a job can be hard, especially when I have no car to get around, so this has been perfect,” she said. “Plus the kids and staff are very accepting of me and treat me like an adult.”
“She has been a phenomenal employee,” said Fischbach. “One of her strengths is her youth — the way she can engage with the kids is amazing.
“So many of the kids look up to her,” Fischbach continued. “It’s so great to have her to set the example.”
As Hoskins looks back on her time in school in Coupeville, she said three of her teachers stand out.
“My sixth grade Language Arts teacher Mrs. Rosenkrance, Mr. Grenz and Mr. Stange,” she recalled. “Mrs. Rosenkrance was there for me when I moved here, even if I was rude to her and others, she never stopped trying to make me like Coupeville … Mr. Stange taught me yearbook and design. Mr. Grenz taught me to always find a way to laugh at yourself.”
As for words of wisdom for her underclassmen, her philosophy is simple:
“Don’t give up,” she said. “High school is just the beginning. You go up from there.”