Distinguished in many ways
by Guy Thompson
Alyssa Hochstetler has a very busy winter ahead. The Northridge High School senior first heads for Washington, D.C., in mid-January, followed by a trip to Kokomo, Ind., for a week in mid-February. For a student who has only missed two days of school aside of a few sick days, it’s a lot of time away from school.
But it’s for a couple of incredible opportunities for her.
In December, Hochstetler was preparing for her first big trip of 2017. She will attend the Presidential Inauguration Leadership Summit January 18-20 in Washington, D.C.
According to their website, the summit is “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness history and play a role in your future. As a Summit Delegate, you will attend the historic 58th Presidential Inauguration on the National Mall, be inspired by world-renowned speakers, participate in events that will solidify your path to becoming a future leader, and connect with like-minded, high-aspiring students.”
It begins with a reception to meet the others from around the country attending the summit. Along with getting to witness the inauguration, they will hear from an array of world-renowned leaders, influencers and celebrities, including former Secretary of State General Colin L. Powell, director/writer Spike Lee, Olympic Soccer Gold Medalist Abby Wambach, and more.
Right now, though, Hochstetler is focused on a presentation for the summit. She has applied to present on the topic of “Pathways to Power: Women and Global Leadership.” “I have a lot of reading over Christmas break,” she said. The summit will break the scholars into small-group breakout delegations to tackle important topics such as the role of women in leadership, something that is close to Hochstetler’s heart.
Top presentations will be selected for scholarships. “I really hope I get that topic,” she said. “I’m involved in a lot of leadership roles and I want to expand on that role in the future.”
Hochstetler then heads a little closer to home in February, competing in the state’s 60th Annual Distinguished Young Women program in Kokomo the week of Valentine’s Day. Hochstetler won the Middlebury program at the end of July, earning $2,200 in scholarships. She took top spot in the interview, scholastic, talent and Be Your Best Self categories.
“I’m prepping a lot for it right now,” she stated. Most of that is working on the fitness and interviews. “I’m exercising every day.” Family and friends are helping her with the interview by asking various questions as she works on how to present who she is. She is also practicing her piano piece for the talent portion. She admitted that the fitness portion will be one of her bigger challenges at the competition.
Young women who are seniors this year can compete. “You only have one chance to do it and give it your all,” Hochstetler noted. The goal, naturally, is to make it to the nationals.
There will be around 20 at the state competition, with the winner traveling to the national level, held in Alabama in June. “I’m really excited by everything we get to do,” she said. During the week-long program, she will join the others for tours of businesses around Kokomo, receptions and a service project. “It’s part of the Be Your Best program,” she said of the service project. She listed off the program’s goals: “It encourages young girls to be healthy and ambitious and involved and responsible and studious.”
Hochstetler will be assigned an age group to work with on a service project. Locally, she has worked with the Middlebury Boys and Girls Club, focusing on girls and ways to help empower them to set and achieve their goals. “One thing we do is to have them write down what they want to improve on,” she said.
Hochstetler is also in the Northridge High School International Baccalaureate program, an intense diploma program that is known for the time it takes up in a student’s schedule. Even with that, Hochstetler is involved in numerous clubs, service organizations and activities. One she singled out was her continuing volunteer efforts at the Middlebury Food Pantry, something she began in 8th grade as part of the middle school’s Civics in Action program. “It’s important to be involved in whatever environment you’re in,” she noted.
As Hochstetler works hard over Christmas break, preparing for the opportunities and challenges coming her way in 2017, young ladies around Middlebury can look to her for what the idea of “empowered” means – “to be stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.”
Presidential Inauguration Leadership Summit curriculum
Alyssa Hochstetler will be busy during her four days at the summit in Washington, D.C. Here is a sampling of the curriculum and activities planned for students:
Constitution Hall Seminar Series – Held in the historic DAR Constitution Hall, the Seminar Series will feature a number of inspiring speakers and opportunities for scholars to discuss critical global issues and help discover inspired solutions to immediate and future challenges.
Envision Your Future – A career fair that provides opportunities for scholars to engage with college and career recruiters and subject matter experts from a wide variety of disciplines. Held at George Mason University, it is designed to empower scholars to ask questions and realize the power of their potential in a future career.
Delegations for Change – Scholars will work together in facilitated, small-group breakout delegations to generate solutions to real-world challenges that the next president and their generation will face.
Summit Showcase – Original ideas will be presented by delegates, with the top performing delegation from different sections moving on to present their ideas on the main stage. Summit Scholars will select one winning delegation for each impact topic, who will receive grants to help fund their future.
Discovery Education Panel – Partnering with Discovery Education, the panel enhances the summit with original digital content presented throughout the summit, as well as facilitated expert panel discussions that explore the Delegation for Change topics and inspire the scholars.
Inauguration Events – Opening Night Reception, the Inauguration of the 45th President of the United States, and the Envision Inaugural Gala at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.