Amador Valley High graduate Annie Cai is set to be honored in New York City today as one of 10 National Young Women of Distinction, the highest recognition bestowed by the Girl Scouts of the USA.
Cai, now a UC Berkeley freshman, received the honor for her Gold Award project last school year. With her "Imaginarium" project, she designed a career development conference for young students to help them turn their creative ideas into formal business plans.
"I wanted to inspire entrepreneurial creativity in the younger generation so that they can not only set up innovative businesses, but also then better our society in terms of gender equality, domestic policy and socioeconomic standards," said Cai, who graduated from Amador Valley last June.
Held at her high school, the all-day conference drew 30 middle school students who wanted to invent and develop new business concepts.
And with the guidance of business professionals in attendance, the students transformed their brainstorming sessions into detailed proposals with an operations breakdown, financial budget and marketing plan. The young participants then presented their plan publicly to a panel of judges.
"We made sure that we didn't change their dreams, but merely revised the way that they organized and presented those dreams," Cai said. "This way, we only amplified their creative inventions; we didn't crush them."
While at Amador Valley, Cai also helped start a new campus-based store overseen entirely by student staff, organize a monthly speaker panel of business professionals and inspire a TEDx event around leadership, which the school plans to hold in the future, according to Girl Scouts of Northern California officials.
"Annie's vision and execution for Imaginarium is a remarkable achievement, and we are so proud to honor the incredible work which earned her this distinction," said Marina Park, CEO of Girl Scouts NorCal. "Annie exemplifies the type of thoughtful analysis and leadership from our local Girl Scouts who are fortunate to gain intimate access to the culture of innovation that is unique to Northern California."
Cai and the other Young Women of Distinction received $5,000 scholarships from the Kappa Delta Foundation and the Girl Scouts of the USA.
For more information on the award program and the recognition ceremony, visit www.girlscouts.org.