Golden Apple: State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson selected two California high school students to the highly competitive United States Senate Youth Program, including Mira Loma High School student Josephine Kao.
Torlakson selected Kao and Deeksha Goyal of Redlands East Valley High School in San Bernardino County for their "outstanding scholastic achievement, leadership qualities and strong commitment to their schools and communities," according to a press release from the California Department of Education.
Two alternates - Anna Page of San Diego and Stefano Rumi of Los Angeles - were also selected.
"I'm amazed at what these four outstanding young people have accomplished," Torlakson said in a press release. "They are among California's - as well as the nation's - top scholars, and I applaud their achievements, both inside and outside the classroom."
Kao, who lives in Roseville, was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to be the student board member of the California State Board of Education.
She is a synchronized figure skater with a 4.83 weighted grade point average, 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) and founder of the local Literacy is for Everyone!
Kao plays the harp as a volunteer for the Kaiser Permanente Spiritual Healing Program. She plans to pursue economics and international relations in college.
"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."
High school principals nominate students for the Senate Youth Program. Students are then reviewed by a state Department of Education committee and sent to Torlakson for selection.
For more information on the U.S. Senate Youth Program, click HERE.