Ramya Thomas, a senior at William Chrisman High School in Independence and a member of Boys & Girls Clubs Hawthorne Unit, is the 2020 Youth of the Year for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City.

Thomas was selected during a banquet late last month among the nominees from each of the club units around the metro area.

Thomas received a $1,000 educational scholarship from Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City, a $5,000 scholarship from McCarthy Auto Group. She will now compete for Missouri Youth of the Year and an additional $5,000 scholarship from Boys & Girls Club. The Youth of the Year program is in its 73rd year.

At Chrisman, Thomas is a member of the ACE Club (Association of Chrisman Excellence, promoting positive self-image from students and faculty members) and the student council. At the Boys & Girls Club, she participates in the Keystone Club (leadership and community service), SMART Girls (health, fitness and self-esteem enhancement program) and MAMM (media, arts and music matter). She plans to attend Prairie View A&M University in Texas, majoring in performing arts.

Thomas' award marks the fourth time in six years a Chrisman student has received it. Vanesa Rodriguez won in 2016 and 2018, and Courtney Calhoun won in 2015.

If Thomas wins the state award, she will compete for Midwest Region Youth of the Year and an additional $10,000 college scholarship, renewable up to four years. Five regional winners will advance to Washington, D.C., in September, to compete for the title of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year. The National Youth of the Year will receive an additional scholarship of $25,000, also renewable for up to four years, and a new car.