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MHS junior going after state teen pageant title
Myklyn Balmutis competing in the Miss Teenage California scholarship competition taking place this weekend in Irvine for a chance to snag the $10,000 grand prize. - photo by Photo Contributed

Myklyn Balmut’s dream after high school is to attend Harvard Law School.

The Manteca High School junior, whose GPA currently stands at 4.67 and is in four Advance Placement classes, knows very well that this Ivy League campus is “extremely expensive,” said her mother, Jeanette. It’s for this reason the determined young teen-ager has thrown her hat into the Miss Teenage California scholarship competition taking place this weekend in Irvine for a chance to snag the $10,000 grand prize. All in all, the pageant will award $25,000 in scholarships. If she does win the top prize, it would be the icing on the cake when she celebrates her 16th birthday on May 1 when the awards will be presented to the winners.

Already, Myklyn – pronounced Mike Lynn, which is a combination of her parents’ names – has started building on the foundation for her dream career as a future legal eagle. She has been selected to attend a law conference this summer at Stanford Law School designed for students who want to have firsthand academic and career insights into the field of law.

“She is the hardest-working young girl. She is so determined to succeed in her quest for an excellent education. She loves school and learning,” Jeanette, an account representative, said of the oldest of her three children with husband Mike, a power plant mechanic.

Myklyn’s dream is not just a whim whipped up while in high school. Its goes back to her childhood when she set her heart on becoming a future barrister.

“Since I was seven years old, I have dreamed of attending Harvard University and law school and becoming a prosecuting attorney,” she said about her educational and career goals in response to the competition’s questionnaire.

“These dreams have only slightly changed as I have grown. My goals now consist of attending any of the Ivy League universities, Stanford University or University of California at Berkeley. I still plan on attending law school and becoming a prosecuting attorney. After several years of law experience, I would like to be elected to represent California as a member of the US House of Representatives,” she added.

Thus far, Myklyn has amassed a litany of school and community awards, honors, and titles won from local competitions. This school year alone, she has secured the following: Scholar Athlete award, Valley Oak League Girls Varsity Basketball champions (she is a member of the Buffaloes varsity basketball team), acceptance into the National Youth Law Forum in Washington, D.C., where she will be attending in June, plus the Lead America Law Conference at Stanford Law School in July. The year before that, she was named into the National Honors Society, among several other recognitions.

She is also the accompanist for the advanced choir at Manteca High, and is an officer for nine school clubs.

She is also an active volunteer in the community and has logged more than 2,000 hours of community service in the past three years alone. She has manned the phone banks at the annual boys and Girls Club telethon. She is a member of the Scholarship Competition, Community Service and Entertainment divisions of the Manteca Youth Focus. She was the student volunteer coordinator at the recent Manteca High School Rotary Interact Club “Super Bowl Omelet Breakfast.” And she took part in the Canned-food drive for area needy last year.

Thus far, she has built up a modest nest egg for her college education by winning a number of local competitions. She earned a $125 scholarship as the first alternate in the 2006 Young Manteca Scholarship Competition “Miss Young Pumpkin Fair.” The following year, she won a $75 scholarship as the second alternate in the “Miss Young Winter Fest.” In 2008, she won the coveted “Miss Teen Manteca” in the Teen Manteca Scholarship Competition which came with a $500 prize.

Myklyn said it was a family friend, Tiffany Dunlap O’Connell, who inspired her to pursue law and is her role model.

“When I was in the fourth grade, I was invited to attend her graduation from law school. It was a life-changing moment for me to see what was possible for me as a young woman. I was completely in awe,” she said in the form she submitted to the state competition.

“Tiffany is a very inspirational woman who achieves the goals that she sets for herself. She has shown me that all dreams can become reality if I am willing to work hard enough. Tiffany is the ‘complete package:’ she completed her education, has a successful and rewarding career in law and is a fantastic new mother. I am working to follow in her footsteps,” Myklyn said.

The Miss Teenage California contestant is sponsored by Dr. Trang Duong Orthodontics, Mike Mehan State Farm Insurance, as well as family and friends. Approximately 200 girls will be competing for the state title and the scholarship awards. Myklin is entering the competition with the title, Miss Teen  Delta Valley.