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Viksne, 16, honored for community service

By: Muriel Brounstein Telegraph Correspondent
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For one local teenager, serving her community has paid off. Victoria Viksne, a 16-year-old student at Vista del Lago High School, received the Folsom Soroptimist Club’s 2010 Violet Richardson Award, which comes with a $250 prize. Soroptimist is an international service organization dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls in more than 100 countries worldwide. The Violet Richardson Award is given to a girl who has demonstrated a commitment to community service. Kathy Day, Awards Committee Chair for Soroptimist International of Folsom-Orangevale, said that Viksne, a sophomore, was an outstanding recipient. Viksne’s many volunteer activities is Stand Up to Cancer, which raises awareness and funds for cancer research. She joined because there is a family history of cancer and she wanted to do something positive to help. Vista del Lago’s Stand Up to Cancer adviser, Janice Johnson, said Viksne is an inspiration to others. “Of all the students that I’ve ever had, she is one of the best role models for what a young adult should be,” Johnson said. “ She participates in volunteer activities because she cares, not just to have them on her resume.” Viksne is also a member of Vista del Lago’s speech and debate club. In February, Folsom’s Rotary Club sponsored a speech contest, which Victoria won, earning a $200 prize. Viksne is a member of Vista del Lago’s Key Club and belongs to the California Scholastic foundation, having earned a 4.0 grade point average, and is ranked second in her sophomore class of 343 students. “I’m interested in psychology and broadcast and print journalism,” Viksne said. “I want to do something that I love, not just for money. I want to be happy.” She said two of her future goals that will benefit society are designing a line of swimwear that would be modest but still cute, and holding seminars for teen girls to help them with their self-esteem. Victoria lives with her father, Michael, mother Valjean, sister Alex, 18 and a student at Cal Poly, and brother Michael, 12, a student at Folsom Middle School. Viksne said she looks up to her older sister, Alex, as her role model. Her mother, Valjean, said that Victoria is completely self-driven. “She is so wise at such a young age,” Valjean said. “I am most proud of her for being herself, and for honoring who she is, and for respecting others for who they are.”