A Yorba Linda student was selected to represent California in the William Randolph Hearst Foundation’s 52nd annual U.S. Senate Youth Program, the state Department of Education announced this week.
Daniel Cameron Hamidi, a senior at Valencia High School, will receive a $5,000 scholarship and attend a one-week, all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., in March.
He will be joined by the state’s other representative, Sabrina Mia Van Zuiden, a resident of Chula Vista in San Diego County and senior at Hilltop High School.
Two alternates—Justin Marc Hopkins, a Los Angeles resident and senior at Loyola High School, and William Oh, a Santa Clarita resident and senior at Golden Valley High School—were also picked in case Sabrina or Daniel can’t attend.
“Young people like these four are a big part of the reason I’m so optimistic about California’s future,” state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said. “They combine a natural curiosity and care for the world around them with hard work and support from their schools and communities.”
Students must be nominated by their high school principal to participate in the program.
A selection committee from the state Department of Education reviewed them and Torlakson selected the awardees based on the quality of their 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.
Daniel is secretary of the Associated Student Body at Valencia High School, and he was sophomore class president. He is also state speaker of the Assembly for Junior State of America, captain of the school’s mock trial team and director of Youth Outreach for Boys State.
He has a 4.4 grade-point average and is a National AP Scholar and National Merit Scholar semifinalist.
The four students are also scheduled to be recognized by the state Board of Education during its Jan. 15-16 meeting in Sacramento.