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West Brunswick student Daniel Disano has his sights set on Washington, D.C., and in just a few short days, he will be on his way.
Disano, a Shallotte resident and rising junior, will be participating in the National Young Leaders Conference.
The conference is a nine-day program allowing students the opportunity to interact with a variety of personnel who serve the three branches of government.
The program appealed to Disano because of his interest in politics and current issues.
“I just think that I like getting my ideas out there,” Disano said.
His mother, Lori Hansen, said she wasn’t surprised by his interest in politics.
“He had a lot of beliefs about school issues, political issues, work issues and employment issues,” Hansen said. “He has a lot of good ideas.”
To qualify for the program, students must have demonstrated leadership ability, have a sense of overall academic achievement, and be nominated by an educator or mentor. Disano is active in many organizations at West, and has played golf and football for the Trojans. He is currently serving as an officer in West Brunswick’s DECA chapter, and was recently inducted into the school’s chapter of the National Honor Society.
Based on his involvement and interests, his honors biology teacher, Lisa Jones nominated him.
After he received the letter about his nomination, Disano began talking with his parents about the opportunity.
“He’s just very independent, so I wasn’t surprised,” Hansen said. “The teachers have been saying how well he does and that he’s going to go far.”
Hansen said she is especially proud of him because she doesn’t have to push him to succeed.
“He does all of this on his own,” she said. “He deserves it.”
Disano completed the application process, and was selected to attend the conference.
“Considering there had only been three other people from West Brunswick to go, I decided it would be a great honor to go,” he said.
Disano will leave June 30 and return July 8. Throughout the conference, Disano will have the opportunity to meet with well-known political figures, such as former vice president Al Gore and retired general and former secretary of state Colin Powell.
At the conference, students will also participate in a variety of leadership and skill-building activities.
According to a press release from the Congressional Youth Leadership Council, students will participate in a Model Congress, in which they assume the roles of U.S. representatives and debate, amend and vote on mock legislation. In one activity called “If I Were President,” they will get an opportunity to act as president and cabinet members responding to an international crisis.
Disano, who previously wanted to be a meteorologist, is excited about the opportunity and said that he now plans to pursue a career in politics and enjoys following the current events. He admires politicians, particularly New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
“I like Chris Christie because he just gets his ideas out there and doesn’t play around,” Disano said. “He does what he has to do.”
In the Congressional Youth Leadership Council’s press release, Marguerite Regan, dean of academic affairs for the Congressional Youth Leadership Council, said, “NYLC prepares students to serve our country well, whether that means as elected officials in our nation’s capital, as active members within communities around the world or as intelligent, creative and responsible members of the workforce.”
A full-time employee at Calabash Creamery, Disano is already fulfilling his role as a member of the workforce, and he says he intends to remain involved in the West Brunswick community.
Next year he will continue to serve as a DECA officer and hopes to become more involved with the school’s chapter of the National Honor Society. He also plans to continue playing golf and is open to pursuing opportunities with other West Brunswick athletic teams, particularly if the school forms a lacrosse team.
“If we do get a lacrosse team, then I’ll definitely be playing that,” Disano said.
Renee Sloan is a staff writer at The Brunswick Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.