FOX Sports Wisconsin Youth of the Year

Celebrating Club members that demonstrate exceptional character and accomplishments

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The Youth of the Year program dates back to 1947 and celebrates youth who have overcome enormous odds and demonstrated exceptional character and accomplishments. Those selected are recognized for service to their Club and community, academic performance and contributions to their families.

Participants are chosen on both local and state levels. From those participants, five regional winners are selected to meet every September in Washington, D.C. to compete for the National Youth of the Year title. Five judges interview each candidate and select the winner based on scholastic achievement, community service, leadership ability, and consideration of any physical, social or emotional obstacles that were overcome.

All five regional winners are honored at a Congressional Breakfast on Capitol Hill and have an opportunity to meet the President of the United States in the White House. In addition, each regional winner receives a $10,000 scholarship and the National Youth of the Year receives an additional college scholarship totaling up to $50,000. Each state winner receives a $1,000 college scholarship. Scholarships are made possible by Tupperware Brands Corporation and The Rick and Susan Goings Foundation.

FOX Sports Wisconsin is a long-standing local funder of the Youth of the Year program.

2017 FOX Sports Wisconsin Youth of the Year: Brandon Pope

Brandon Pope is the 2017 FOX Sports Wisconsin Youth of the Year for Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. Brandon has been a member of the Augusta M. LaVarnway Boys & Girls Club since his freshman year of high school, and he credits the Clubs for helping him transform from a shy teenager into a confident and accomplished leader.

“The people that are in our Clubs are our future leaders,” Brandon says. “And the only thing we can do is continue to provide these awesome programs for them and continue to make sure that they have a safe environment to go to after school every day.”

Brandon takes full advantage of those programs, participating in Keystone Club, Can You Hear Us Now?, Lindsey Heights Youth Council, Career Launch, BMO Scholars and College Corner. As a junior at Messmer High School, Brandon is enrolled in all honors/AP courses and is ranked fifth in his class. He plans to attend Florida State University to pursue a career in Psychology. Brandon also enjoys spending time as a mentor and tutor to younger Club members, volunteering at the Jewish Community Center as well as staying fit and running track.

Brandon represents the high character produced in our youth at Boys & Girls Clubs, and we’re proud to call him our 2017 FOX Sports Wisconsin Youth of the Year!

2017 Runner-up Youth of the Year: Fiasa Falls

Fiasa Falls is the 2017 Youth of the Year for the Destiny High School Boys & Girls Club. A Club member for three years, Fiasa has benefited from the BMO Scholars, Money Matters and Lead to Succeed programs. Fiasa is a senior at Destiny High School and will be the valedictorian of her graduating class. She plans to attend the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point to pursue a career in Law. Fiasa has a deep appreciation for her Clubs staff, and says she “would love to mentor people as I have been mentored in my life.” She enjoys playing basketball and being a positive role model for her younger siblings and youth.

Youth of the Year finalist: Gbemisola Ester Sonubi

Gbemisola Ester Sonubi is the 2017 Youth of the Year for the Brown Deer High School Boys & Girls Club. Ester emigrated from Nigeria with her family in 2011 and has been a Club member for her four years of high school. At the Club, she participates in Keystone Club, planning special events, community service opportunities and working as a Junior Staff. Ester wants to work with younger Club members to help them “overcome their fears and not give up on their dreams.” Ester plans to attend Carroll University to pursue a career in Nursing and enjoys cooking with her mom, playing volleyball and running track.

Youth of the Year finalist: D’Naya Collins

D’Naya Collins is the 2017 Youth of the Year for the Pieper-Hillside Boys & Girls Club. She has been a Club member for four years and participates in a number of character-building programs, including Sista Pride, Keystone Club, College Corner and Money Matters. D’Naya is a sophomore at Rufus King High School where she is taking three honors courses. D’Naya is an Argosy Award winner thanks to her community service work with the Salvation Army, in which she created care packages for the homeless. She plans to attend Spelman College to pursue a career in the medical field as an OB-GYN. D’Naya enjoys cheerleading and giving back to her community.