Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - January 3, 2014

2 remarkable Pleasanton seniors earn Community of Character scholarships

Pleasanton's Community of Character Coalition has chosen two remarkable high school students as recipients of Juanita Haugen memorial scholarships for 2014. Alice Deng from Amador Valley High School and Diane Hadley from Foothill, who are in this year's graduating classes, were chosen for exemplifying the six Community of Character standards of compassion, honesty, respect, responsibility, integrity and self-discipline. These characteristics were adopted by the Pleasanton school district, the city government and the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce with scholarship awards given each year to honor the memory of Juanita Haugen, founder of the coalition, who died in 2007. Haugen was a former Pleasanton school board president and at one time also president of the California School Boards Association.

Deng is the daughter of Janet and Tony Deng. Born in Oakland, where she attended elementary school, she took steps to gain confidence as a speaker after moving to Pleasanton with her parents. As part of that effort, she decided she could also help others to build confidence in themselves by starting a nonprofit organization called "RSVP Speech Campaign," a group that already has formed similar chapters in Berkeley and San Leandro.

In recognition of the success of RSVP Speech, Alice has been inducted into the Alameda County Woman's Hall of Fame this year. Her other activities have included leadership roles in her school's chapters of the California Scholastic Federation honor society, DECA, the international business organization and the Amador Valley High marching band. She has also volunteered more than 500 hours at Open Heart Kitchen, the American Red Cross, Museum on Main and Shepherd's Gate's shelter for battered women and children. She also serves on the Tri-Valley/Eden Township Youth Community Court and is past president of the Oakland Youth Energy Awareness Council.

Hadley is the daughter of Laura and Bing Hadley. She developed her leadership skills through a number of organizations, including her church, National Charity League and Girl Scouts. She has volunteered her services with more than 30 different regional charities and community organizations, including Corazon, Foster-a-Dream, the American Cancer Society and Shakespeare's Associates.

Corazon is an organization that builds houses in Tijuana for homeless families. When she was 15, Hadley organized a build through her church, recruiting 50 volunteers, facilitating meetings and organizing transportation, food and hotels. At the end of the weekend, she was able to hand house keys to a father, a man who had a job but needed some help in building a home.

She also has been involved with Girl Scouts for 12 years, earning the highest honor, the Silver Award, by organizing parties to decorate over 100 pillow cases for foster children. At Foothill High School, she was the president of her junior and senior classes and was a cheerleader for four years, including two years on the school's competition squad and three as the cheerleaders' captain. She also was a member of National Charity League for six years, helping with organizations such as the Shakespeare Festival, Special Olympics and the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.

As in past years, the Village High School recipient will be announced at the school's graduation ceremony in June.

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