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45 local teens to take part in leadership conference

Forty-five teenagers who attend school in La Jolla are among 250 girls selected by The Jenna Druck Foundation to participate in the Young Women’s Leadership Program.

“The Spirit of Leadership Middle School Conference aims to help these girls discover and strengthen the unique gifts, dreams and talents that lie within them, providing them with the tools to become better leaders working toward a better future for all of us,” according to a news release.

The leadership program is one of two sponsored by the foundation to honor Druck, a budding young leader when she was struck and killed in a bus accident in India while on a “Semester at Sea” program when she was 21.

The one-day conference includes a keynote session by trainer, author and “Motivating the Teen Spirit” founder Lisa Nichols. The teens will also spend the day with female community leaders who volunteer as mentors.

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Among the La Jollans who will be participating are Natalie Bayer, Susan Adams and Hiwet Weldeselase.

Natalie was nominated by Kathy Hirsch, one of her La Jolla Country Day teachers, who said “she embodies the spirit of what I believe is the future of leadership for women, and I want her to know that and begin her journey now. “

Susan, who attends the Gillispie School, also was nominated by a teacher. In her nomination, the teacher wrote: “Virginia is … committed to environmental issues and has become actively involved in various letter-writing campaigns and fundraising to make a difference.”

UCSD Preuss School counselor Erin Patrick recommended Hiwet, saying she “embodies kindness and is a good friend to all students at the school. She treats others with fairness and respect at all times, and is an excellent role model.”

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The other La Jollans selected for the leadership program are Justine Aires, Katie Allen, Megan Arnold, Danielle Bender, Caroline Carlson, Byanca Castelo, Nyree Catlin, Samantha Champi, Marissa Cohen, Suzanna Desta, Jacqueline W. Dicks, Melissa Fagen, Hanna Fekede, Carly Felker, Virginia Fishburn, Daisy Flores, Jackie Gaistman and Michelle Guefen.

Also named are Daisy Gomez, Carley Haft, Monique Kelly, Maya Lakshman, Marisa Liang, Yan Liu, Lanique Lucas, Marissa Mendoza, Cienna Miesfeld, Rachel Mitnick and Hadiyah Muhammad.

Others are Madeleine Nagle, Erica Nesses, Nancy Nguyen, Anna Nilsson, Tiana Pidgeon, Sheridan Rice, Ana Rodriguez, Hannah Rusonik, Jassmine Salas, Gabi Turner, Sami Viterbi, Lexius Waltar and Sharon Wulfovich.