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California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #12-115
December 21, 2012
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

Education Roundup for the Week Ending December 21, 2012

SACRAMENTO—The California Department of Education (CDE) today issued this week's Education Roundup of education-related announcements of public interest.

California Career Tech Student is Harvard Bound

One of the state's high-achieving career technical education students has earned early admission to Harvard University. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson is congratulating Belinda Zeng of Monta Vista High School (Fremont Union High School District, Santa Clara County).

Zeng is currently president of DECA—formerly known as the Distributive Education Clubs of America—that is a career technical student organization designed to help students prepare for work in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management. She is also DECA's 2012 California student member of the year, was the Silicon Valley DECA President, and served as the student representative on the Santa Clara County Office of Education Career Technical Education Advisory Board. The Cupertino senior previously made headlines last January after receiving a patent for creating a fashion design software program.

The California DECA is recognized by the CDE for providing students with real-world experience and leadership skills that prepare them for careers. This is part of Torlakson's Career Readiness Campaign designed to lower the student dropout rate in California and provide high school students with the skills needed as they graduate high school and pursue college or careers.

Blind Student to Perform in National Rose Bowl Parade

Mi So Kwak of Diamond Bar High School (Walnut Valley Unified School District, Los Angeles County) will be participating in the upcoming Tournament of Roses Parade January 1. The 18-year-old senior was born blind, and will be playing the flute in the Bands of America Honor Band.

Kwak has been determined to participate in a marching band since middle school and succeeded with the help of friends and a great deal of practice. Her family eventually moved to California, where she enrolled in Diamond Bar High School, participated in band, and also pursued marching band.

She applied and was selected as a member of the elite Rose Parade Honor Band with high school students from all 50 states.
Kwak will have the Diamond Bar High School marching instructor Casey Bindle by her side, applying gentle pressure to her arm to guide her in the right direction.

She was also recently selected for the Southern California State Honor Band and will perform in February.

For more information on Kwak, contact Kelli Gile of the Walnut Valley Unified School District at or 909-595-1261, extension 31204.

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Tom Torlakson — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last Reviewed: Monday, December 28, 2020
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