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High School Youth of the Year Week Begins

Judges decide Monday night which one from Menlo Park will go on to the finals.

High School Youth of the Year Week Begins

Three high school students from Menlo Park are in the running for a Youth of the Year award from . Monday night at 6 p.m. local judges will decide who will represent Menlo Park in the regional finals on Friday.

“This isn’t a Phi Beta Kappa honor roll contest,” said Peter Fortenbaugh, executive director of the .

“The real key is that they are trending in the right direction, making smart decisions with their lives and being good role models for others,” he said.

Mark, Diante and Tajianna, who you can see to the right of these words, are the candidates from Menlo Park.

The high schoolers qualified for the award for a few reasons. In addition to the obligatory essay submission, they display resilience of character, have overcome substantial obstacles and have been members of the Boys & Girls Club for years.

They will deliver speeches tonight for a panel of judges which includes:
City Councilmember Rich Cline, Police Chief Bryan Roberts, Facebook’s Director of Real Estate John Tenanes, Club House Benefactor Carol McNeil, and Dina McKinney, Vice President of Design at AMD.

The three will also engage in conversations about their futures with each of the judges for about 15 minutes.

Tuesday, judges will select a representative from Redwood City out of three candidates. On Wednesday, judges will select one from East Palo Alto out of four qualified students.

The finals will be held on Friday.

“This isn’t about a winner or a loser," Fortenbaugh said. “It’s about the process of having kids learn to articulate life goals, speak in public, and have one-on-one interviews with a senior executive. It’s not just a beauty contest."

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