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La Jolla High student recognized as global leader

La Jolla High School junior Raquel Saxe recently received the Jamie Harder Female Youth Leader of San Diego Scholarship in recognition of her leadership qualities and academic achievement.

Awarded by the Global Leadership Connection, a non-profit organization that for the past 29 years has been bringing together young leaders from across the country for seminars and learning experiences, the $1,000 college scholarship was presented to Saxe at a program held June 1 at the University of San Diego.

It concluded a Connection experience that started with a one-day conference on April 30. In May, two local business owners interviewed Saxe and other candidates. That interview, along with a written essay, was evaluated and scholarship winners selected.

“She truly cares about other people in her community,” said Carole Harder, executive director of Global Leadership Connection, adding that Saxe conveyed characteristics of trustworthiness, honesty and authenticity. “She just really impressed everyone as being very genuine.”

In addition to receiving the scholarship, Saxe and the other top five winners from the USD program, with students from across the U.S., will participate in the Global Leadership Connection Washington, D.C. Experience Sept. 26 to 29. The teens will tour the White House and both Houses of Congress during this trip.

“What was really great about this conference,” said Saxe, “was they let us connect with other students there. It was really the people our age that we could relate to that were most inspiring. I really want to have that same effect on others.”

Saxe, who moved to La Jolla with her parents and younger brother four years ago (she also has an older sister), didn’t start out as an active school participant.

“When I first came in as a freshman, I wasn’t so involved,” Saxe said.

After witnessing the impact a Holocaust survivor had on fellow students in the 10th grade, Saxe was inspired to found the La Jolla High School Jewish Heritage Club.

Her involvement as a school and community leader has multiplied several times over. She has volunteered at the Southern California Special Olympic, aided the Jenna Druck Foundation, worked with the Friendship Circle and served meals at the St. Vincent de Paul soup kitchen.

Along with her mother Kayla Saxe, Raquel Saxe helped design a line of jewelry that raises funds for the Global Heart Uganda School project. So far, jewelry sales have brought in about $8,000.

Saxe will be serving as the student body president next year, a position she is well equipped to fill, given her participation in the Global Leadership Connection and the Young Women’s Leadership Conference 2008.

“As president, I want to take a lot of the causes in the world today and bring them into the light and share them with the students,” Saxe said. “I want to make this high school experience one that everyone will remember.”

Harder said high school students are at a point in their lives where they begin to make important decisions, so they should be aware of the impact of those choices.

“One of the main messages to the kids is one of your greatest powers is your power to choose,” Harder said. “Right now they’re making some major decisions about where they’re going to go, and right now we sure need some strong leaders in our world.”