In the ‘90s adults often miss all the good things that teens are doing and focus instead on the bad things. The Chase Youth Awards are one opportunity to recognize all those teens who are doing truly wonderful things.
More than 400 teens were nominated for this year’s awards, proving there is far more good than bad happening in the Spokane area. The award is named after former Spokane Mayor Jim Chase and recognizes youth in nine different categories.
This year, the 10th anniversary of the awards, the city youth department broadened the awards to recognize both teen and youth divisions. It also handed out its first-ever award to an adult who had devoted time to helping young people. The winner, Crosswalk teacher Ken Jernberg, was chosen by a panel of teens.
Here’s Our Generation’s salute to the winners in the teen division. All of the recipients, as well as the nominees, are shining examples of the good things that teens in this area do. These prestigious awards are a simple reminders to these teens that their actions are important. More importantly, they show others all the ways the world can be made a better place.
Ben Mosier, a 14-year-old from Evergreen Junior High, is a shining example of a young entrepreneur. Hence, it seems fitting that he received the award in the entrepreneurship category.
Due to his young age, Ben had difficulty finding employment. Two weeks after his 14 birthday, he began work at The Spokane Gun Club, one of the few places that hires youth under 16.
Last summer, Ben began painting houses. He convinced a contractor that he was a good deal, a hard worker and would complete the project better than other painters. He continues to work at the gun club and keeps up on school work, maintaining a 3.7 GPA.
With his earnings, Ben has become a land owner. He bought a cabin and 20 acres near Chewelah, making the commitment of having a monthly payment for the next 10 years.
The award in the Courage division was given to Darren Mattozzi, a Lakeside student. On two separate occasions, Darren was able to recognize people who were at risk of committing suicide. He was able to contact the necessary authorities and those people were saved because of his actions.
One was a friend who tried to commit suicide with pills. Mattozzi called the school counselor and the friend’s parents. He stayed by his friend at the hospital and long afterward. She says her life will never be the same again, thanks to Mattozzi.
Mattozzi was surprised when his name was called out at the Spokane Opera House for the award.
“It felt like a great honor knowing that I was chosen to receive this award,” said Mattozzi. “I was proud of myself and a little shocked too.”
Holly Arsenault, a senior at Ferris High School, received the Leadership award. Arsenault has many friends who have been victims of harassment in several different forms. To help bring about understanding and create new friendships, she began a group at her school called Spectrum.
Spectrum is a gay/straight alliance which Holly hopes will make her school a better place for all people. Her goal is for the group to help decrease hate crimes and increase respect for one another.
“I really feel strongly that everyone has the right to go to school and get a good education and not have to fear harassment everytime you step into a classroom or walk down the hall,” Arsenault said. “My primary concern was that we create a safe place for people.”
Getting the group started was no easy task. She spent much time and effort on making posters to interest students and get them to attend the first meeting. Yet every poster she made was immediately torn down by students who opposed her mission.
She was not intimidated and her perseverance paid off when 25 students came to the first meeting.
Arsenault said she was shocked to get the Chase Youth Award, particularly since her activity was controversial.
“I was really proud of the (judges); it really speaks highly of the city of Spokane,” she said. “It’s very special to me for that reason.”
De’Andrey Mosby, a senior at Rogers High School, was the recipient of the Personal Achievement Award. “(The award) let me know that there’s people out there who care,” said Mosby.
Mosby spent most of his life living in Compton, Calif. Both of his parents were serious drug users and rather than living as a child, he was forced to take on a parental role. A few years ago, when his mother thought she had her act together, they moved to Spokane. Once again she fell to drugs and De’Andrey had to step up and take on more responsibilities than any teen should be forced to take.
A Rogers teacher, Dexter Griffen, convinced Mosby that he should go back to school. At the time he entered Rogers, he had just one academic credit. Since then he has worked diligently to keep up on his studies and is on track to graduate in June. “It feels good to be acknowledged,” Mosby said. “I’ve worked hard to get where I am right now.”
Civil Air Patrol Cadets
People throughout the area have probably heard of the cadet volunteers for the Spokane Civil Air Patrol, but it’s doubtful they’re fully aware of all the group does. Maybe now, as winners of the Spirit of Jim Chase Group Award, the word will get out.
This group of seventh though 12th graders routinely respond to help the community. They’re trained to assist the city and county in emergency services and their work was especially needed during November’s ice storm.
These teens responded to the call for assistance; moving cots, blankets, generators and other supplies to Red Cross shelters all over the city. Others helped answer emergency phone lines, taking as many as 500 calls an hour to record data on downed power lines and answer frantic questions.
The cadets worked around the clock with little or no sleep for days, doing whatever was asked of them.
“Many citizens were shocked yet pleased to see a group of teens helping out so competently during such a trying situation,” said Capt. Phillip Williams, the patrol’s commander. “Many of the officials directing the operation commented on how wonderful these “kids” were and that relief efforts would have been difficult without them.”
The Community Service award was given to Latisha Stephens, a Rogers senior. Since June of 1996, Latisha has been volunteering at SCAN (Support Care And Networking for Families). She is also active in community service projects at her high school.
“There is so much more to learning than just in the classroom,” said Stephens.
Tish started the Reach Out program at Rogers, where she supervises 40 students. She’s organized all the community service activities for the group, including an all-school food drive for SNAP during the holidays, housing projects for the elderly and a National Rugby Wheelchair Race.
On top of all her activities, Tish is employed part-time at Robinson Research. Amazingly, she still maintains a 3.5 gpa.
Adrienne Isgrigg, an eighth grader at Liberty School, received the Citizenship award. Active at Unity Church as well as 4-H club, Adrienne has been busy helping others since a young age.
One of her biggest projects was the collection of over 40,000 items and taking them to Crosswalk. It took expert shopping at Value Village, but she was able to buy those items and even deliver them herself.
The Creativity award was given to Megan Harris, a student at Mead. For 10 years, Megan has studied ballet, often sacrificing in other areas to pursue her goal of a career in dance. She has held the lead role in “The Nutcracker” twice and has performed with Uptown Opera as well as Theater Ballet of Spokane.
In 1995, Megan came up with the idea of lettering in ballet. With the cooperation of her principal, she was able to receive her letter and now encourages other students to pursue letters in their area of expertise.
West Valley’s Dale Wentworth received the award for Environmental Concern. While working on his Eagle Scout Award, Wentworth worked with officials at Farragut State Park to create the first “Raptor Rehabilitation Center.” This center and Dale’s hard work have helped several injured birds return to the wild.
The center is now called the “Pend Oreille Birds of Prey” and serves the Pacific Northwest region, including Eastern Washington and North Idaho.
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