Democrats give students community service awards

July 8, 2014 

Sometimes it's to develop "Get out the Vote!" strategies, sometimes it's to discuss issues or meet candidates, but when the Oakhurst Democratic Club held their recent meeting, it was to celebrate the club's Eleanor Roosevelt Community Service Award recipients, Angela Du and Michael Neff.

The two Yosemite High School graduates were selected to receive $500 awards both in recognition of their service to the community and in support of their future education plans.

Both Du and Neff were among 21 valedictorians at Yosemite High who received a 4.0 or higher cumulative grade point average all four years at Yosemite, although this was not a factor in their Community Service Award selection.

At the club meeting, Du shared some of her school and community volunteer experiences, including time spent at Saint Agnes Medical Center and Ronald McDonald House.

"I see the smiles on the patients' faces when a doctor, nurse, or guest does something as small as bring them some water, and I hope to be a reason they continue to smile by using my skills in the future," Du said.

She will be attending UCLA majoring in Psychobiology, to be followed by medical school and a career in psychiatry.

"I believe by helping one person with their problems, I can help them and their loved ones lead an easier life," Du said.

Neff told club members of his varied service activities with local clubs, church camps, and organizations and of his plans to pursue an education in molecular and cell biology at UC Berkley, leading to a career in stem cell research.

"It is my belief that stem cell research could solve the complications of both mental and physical disorders, and working with the goal of creating these treatments is inherently a form of service," Neff said. "My life can only be a success if I am able to help others along the way."

The 2014 Eleanor Roosevelt Awards mark the ninth year of the Oakhurst Democratic Club award. Award Committee Chair Peter Leinau notes that the awards are given without regard to the politics of the students or their family.

"It's about recognizing and encouraging the best in our youth ... that interest in serving and helping others and their desire to better the community."

The Oakhurst Democratic Club meets the first Saturday of each month at Denny's Restaurant.

Details: Ellie Schermerhorn, (559) 658-2342.

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