Two Huntington Beach Union High School District (HBUHSD) seniors have each been awarded a $20,000 scholarship through the Girls Inc. National Scholars Program. The students, Desiree Castell and Nina Ho, are among 23 young women from across the United States and Canada to be selected as a National Scholar.

Both women were selected for their outstanding academic achievements, community service work, and dedication to the Girls Inc. mission of inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold. In addition, they have also participated in both national and local programs such as: Eureka, Will Power/Won’t Power, Friendly PEERsuasion and College Bound.

Castell, a Fountain Valley High School student, has been a member of Girls Inc. of Orange County since 2013.

“Girls Inc. has been very supportive to me throughout the years – they’re like family to me,” stated Castell.

While she is undecided on a major and still awaiting college acceptance letters, Castell hopes to attend one of her dream schools, UC Santa Cruz or Tulane University.

Ho, a Westminster High School student, has been a member of Girls Inc. of Orange County since 2014. She is also awaiting college acceptance letters but hopes to attend UCLA.

“It was an arduous process, but it was well worth it in the end,” stated Ho.

Out of the 80 affiliates of Girls Inc., Ho was selected as one of five students invited to speak at the national luncheon on March 7 in New York. Past keynote speakers for the luncheon have included former first lady Michelle Obama and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The Girls Inc. Scholarship program was created in 1992 when Lucile Miller Wright, a female pilot and long-time supporter, gave a bequest for scholarships for young women. Since 1993, more than $5.9 million in scholarships have made post-secondary education more accessible to over 781 high school women and has inspired them to succeed in school and consider a broad range of career possibilities.