State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Selects High
School Students for 2013 U.S. Senate Youth Program
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced the selection of two remarkable California high school students as delegates, along with two alternates, to the highly competitive United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP).
Josephine Kao of Roseville (Placer County), a student at Mira Loma High School in the San Juan Unified School District, and Deeksha Goyal of Redlands (San Bernardino County), a student at Redlands East Valley High School in the Redlands Unified School District, were selected for their outstanding scholastic achievement, leadership qualities, and strong commitment to their schools and communities.
The first alternate is Anna Page of San Diego (San Diego County), a student at Mt. Carmel High School in the Poway Unified School District, and second alternate is Stefano Rumi of Los Angeles (Los Angeles County), a student at the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
"I'm amazed at what these four outstanding young people have accomplished," Torlakson said. "They are among California's—as well as the nation's—top scholars, and I applaud their achievements, both inside and outside the classroom. They are leaders and champions and, most impressive of all, they are dedicated to helping others and strengthening their communities."
Students must be nominated by their high school principal to participate in the program. A selection committee from the California Department of Education (CDE) reviewed eligible nominees and Torlakson selected the awardees based on the quality of the application, high academic achievement, interpersonal and communication skills, knowledge of American government and U.S. history, involvement in school and community activities, demonstrated qualities of leadership, extracurricular activities, and service to the community.
The four students are scheduled to be recognized by the State Board of Education during its January 16-17, 2013 meeting in Sacramento.
For more information on the U.S. Senate Youth Program, please visit the CDE's Web site at United States Senate Youth Program - Initiatives & Programs. For access to their individual photos, please visit the CDE Multimedia Web site.
The students' biographies are as follows:
Josephine Kao is a senior at Mira Loma High School in the San Juan Unified School District (Sacramento County) and is enrolled in its International Baccalaureate program. Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown, she is the student member of the California State Board of Education.
Josephine was a member of the synchronized figure skating team, Sierra Storm, when it was a qualifying finalist for the U.S. Figure Skating National Synchronized championships.
Among her numerous school activities: she is a former president and current commissioner on the Placer County Youth Commission; speech captain of the nationally acclaimed Mira Loma Speech and Debate Team; second-place winner at the 2012 California State Speech Tournament for Original Oratory; teen councilmember of the Roseville Teen Library Council; outreach manager and grant writer for the Arden Creek Project Natural Resources (internship); founder of the local Literacy is for Everyone!
Josephine carries a 4.83 weighted grade point average and also has achieved the highest scores possible on her Advance Placement calculus exams. She plays the harp as a volunteer for the Kaiser Permanente Spiritual Healing Program, and has performed at libraries, hospices, nursing homes, benefit concerts, and the State Capitol.
She has received several honors and recognition including, the Youth Inspire! Award from the Sacramento County Office of Education for youth excellence; the Innovation in Programs Award for her contributions to the Roseville Public Library and the Joe Foss Institute Independence Day award, a $5,000 scholarship for her essay, "We are all American."
Once in college, she says she would like to pursue studies in economics and international relations. "I am interested in pursuing a career that will incorporate my love for motivational public speaking, global economic development, and research," she wrote in her USSYP application. "It is a goal of mine to one day start a nonprofit organization that supports educational opportunities for youth in developing nations."
Deeksha Goyal is a senior at Redlands East Valley High School in the Redlands Unified School District in San Bernardino County and is enrolled in Advanced Placement (AP) courses.
She has been president for the past three years of the school's COMPACT Careers Club, which holds preparatory résumé and cover letter workshops and provides community outreach. She is a volunteer commissioner for the Redlands City Council, Traffic and Parking Commission.
One of her proudest accomplishments is raising money to pay for the surgery that corrected an African girl's bowed legs. "Although I was not present for the moment when she could walk properly, I take pride in knowing that the easy act of fundraising for a few days was enough to cure a child," Deeksha wrote in her USSYP application.
Deeksha maintains 4.67 grade point average and has achieved the highest score possible on her AP U.S. History, chemistry, and statistics exams. She is a researcher at the University of California, Riverside, where she is part of an immunology research project.
A skilled orator, she has been a top competitor on the school's varsity and debate team and is the individual events captain. She has earned "most valuable player" status on her varsity tennis and badminton teams and has taught Bharatanatyam Indian Dance for more than 10 years.
Her guidance counselor describes her "an amazing student" with an "amazing heart to serve others."
Deeksha said she wants to devote her career toward the "advancement of medical awareness and remedy" by combining an education that covers "not only medicine but also administration and political science."
Anna Page is a senior at Mt. Carmel High School in the Poway Unified School District (San Diego County), where she is enrolled in Advanced Placement (AP) courses and carries a 4.22 grade point average.
She is the student board member on the Poway Unified School District Board of Education, youth director on the California YMCA Youth & Government Board of Directors, and a member on the Rancho Penasquitos Town Council.
She is a black belt in Karate, the president of her school's National Honor Society, and is a former defense captain of the speech and debate mock trial team, and has been an intern in the offices of a state senator and an assemblyman. Anna has received several awards, including the Fraternity of Academic and Civic Excellence for academic excellence, volunteerism, and community service.
Anna has a 40-year plan that includes serving in the Army, in Congress, as a Governor, and, perhaps, one day, as President. "No matter how I achieve my goal, my desire to create a better America will never change," she wrote in her USSYP application. "I am confident in the future of America, and I want to be among the group that positively impacts our country."
Stefano Rumi is a junior at the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies in the Los Angeles Unified School District (Los Angeles County), where he is currently taking nine Advanced Placement courses and carries a 4.275 grade point average.
Among his many school activities: Stefano is president of his class, captain of the speech and debate team and the mock trial team, founder and president of the Young Democrats Initiative, co-president and then vice-president of the Free Thinkers Club, founder and president of the Junior Professional Numismatic Association, and a swimmer on the varsity swim team.
He is an active volunteer and spends hundreds of hours a year helping out at several organizations, such as the Wilshire Lions Club, the Koreatown Youth and Community Center, St. Barnabas Senior Services, and the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. His long list of recognition and awards include the Barack Obama Award for Educational Excellence, the President's Volunteer Award (Gold) for his more than 250 hours of community service by the end of his sophomore year, and the Ministry of Education–Republic of Korea Award for outstanding ambassadorial skills abroad.
"By working with various organizations across Los Angeles to improve our community, I learned that my true passions lay in community outreach," he wrote in his USSYP application. After graduating from college, "I would like to return to Los Angeles and continue working with grassroots organization to get our community more involved."
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Tom Torlakson —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100