Carson girl wins scholarship as Nevada Youth of Year
Carson City claimed its first Nevada Boys & Girl’s Club Youth of the Year when Carie Ostrander won a $25,000 scholarship – more money than she, her mother and three brothers and sisters live on for an entire year.
“It opens up a whole new window of opportunity,” Ostrander, 17 and a Carson High School senior, said Wednesday. “I was jazzed. I didn’t know what to say. It was just amazing.”
Ostrander was chosen by her colleagues at the Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada to compete on the state level. Ostrander completed an application that called for several essays and articles for research.
“By the time we put everything together, it ended up being about 50 pages,” she said.
Mark Jacoby, the state coordinator for Youth of the Year, said Ostrander is deserving of the award.
“This young lady is one of the most remarkable young ladies the Boys & Girls Club has ever seen,” Jacoby said.
He said her drive is what makes her exceptional.
“Most kids will sit in status quo. It’s cool nowadays,” he said. “Carie’s not average. She’s driven. Status quo is not good enough for her.”
Ostrander first became involved with the club when it opened in 1993.
“It was a very cheap place to come,” Ostrander said. “My mom worked and it was only $10 a year for her to have a place for her kids to come and hang out all day.”
At 12, Ostrander became a member of the Torch Club, which emphasizes community service, and a year later was part of the Leaders in Training program. At 14, she was hired as the patio assistant.
She now serves as the athletic assistant and wants to give back what the Boys & Girls Club gave her.
“I wouldn’t be Youth of the Year or where I am today if it wasn’t for the staff,” she said. “I want to do the same for these kids, to give them the encouragement to do something great with their lives.”
Jacoby said Ostrander provides a strong example for the children in the program.
“She’s in need herself but she gives to these kids,” he said. “She’s a role model for them.”
Candidates for the scholarship were judged in a variety of areas, including obstacles overcome, community service and poise during the interviews.
One of the biggest obstacles Ostrander had to overcome was financial.
“We had so much trouble with money,” she said. “Mom raised all four of us on about $21,000 a year. It was hard sometimes to let go of fun things for the things we really needed.”
Ostrander also has a mentally challenged twin sister, Cathi. Ostrander said she learned from her twin not to be held back by limitations imposed by society.
Doctors said Cathi would never learn to walk. However, Cathi would hold her twin’s shoulders and together they would walk until Cathi learned to walk on her own. She now runs track and field.
“If anybody believes enough, I say go for it,” Ostrander said.
Jacoby said Ostrander is humble and should be given credit for helping her sister.
“Cathi has a real good quality of life because her twin helped her,” he said.
In addition to the Youth of the Year scholarship, Ostrander is eligible for a $10,000 Millennium Scholarship and will receive a $1,800 grant through AmeriCorps.
Ostrander said she plans to attend the University of Nevada, Reno for two years, then transfer to a university in California.
She said the scholarships have given her a wider opportunity, but she would have gone to college regardless of the sacrifice.
“It would have been real tough,” she said. “I would have had to take out a lot of grant and loans, but I would have made it. I’m determined to make it.”