West High’s Jiyu Zhang Finishes Runner-Up in Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis “Youth of the Year”
West High senior Jiyu Zhang was a finalist for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis (BGCSTL) 2024 Youth of the Year, which was recently announced at the Great Futures At The Playground Gala.
“I was extremely honored to be a finalist for Youth of the Year, as it is the highest youth award presented by the Boys and Girls Club of St. Louis,” Jiyu, who finished second in the competition, said.
As one of four finalists, Jiyu delivered an inspiring speech about her journey and the important role BGCSTL has played in her life.
“I did not come from the most educated or wealthy background,” Jiyu explained. “However, I received a lot of support in my journey of becoming who I am today, which inspired me to give back to my community. I take pride in leading through action: tutoring peers after school, helping my school librarians, and volunteering at Mercy Hospital.”
With her second-place finish, Jiyu received a $2,500 scholarship from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis, something she plans to use to pursue a major in biochemistry before heading into the pre-pharmacy or pre-medication direction.
“I am extremely proud of Jiyu Zhang for her hard work and dedication,” said Dr. Demetrius Adams, building principal at West High. “Her story will inspire students here at West High for years to come, and we are proud to call her a Wildcat!”
Jiyu, who also received the 2023 Joan Ellyn Silber Award for Leadership & Volunterism at the Women's Leadership Table for Four Luncheon, is not only involved with BGCSTL, but she is also an active student at West High.
“I have never been the most outspoken person, but Hazelwood West has assisted me in finding my voice and passion through varsity tennis, chemistry club, key club, and more,” Jiyu detailed. “I have also received tremendous support from my teachers and counselors throughout my time at West, which all plays a significant role in my pursuit of higher education.”
The Hazelwood School District is proud of Jiyu Zhang for all she has already accomplished and encourages her to raise her voice for HSD and continue to inspire future generations.