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McParland 8th grader part of young leader gathering
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Melody Claire Haskell is looking forward to attending the upcoming National Young Leaders State Conference.

It’s there that the McParland School eighth-grade student will be involved in a unique, life-changing program in San Jose, from March 24 to March 27.

“I’m really excited about attending the NYLSC,” said Haskell on Thursday.

She added: “By attending this conference, it will help me shape my future, enhance my leadership skills, and leave me more confident.”

Haskell was nominated by her science teacher, Benjamin Theiss, who recognized her strong leadership potential and outstanding individual effort in achieving academic excellence last school year.

The 13-year-old Manteca girl has been active at McParland and her community. She currently has a 4.0 grade point average and her endeavors include the Science Olympiad, band, piano lessons, babysitting, and dance for the Sondance ministries.

According to its website (, NYLSC is described as an “extensive four-day program, specifically for the most highly motivated students in the nation, focused on core leadership power tools that provide scholars with critical skills essential for success in life.”

Haskell, who attends Crossroads Grace Community Church, received notice of her selection during Thanksgiving. She spent the following three months gathering donations from family, friends, businesses and the community.

“I would be honored to represent Manteca at this conference,” she said. “Only a selected group of the state’s most outstanding students are even nominated to attend.”