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A star at Seventeen

December 21, 2005 01:11 IST

Rohini Komarla, a senior at the International Baccalaureate Program at King High School in Tampa, Florida won the inaugural All-Star contest of Seventeen magazine.

Komarla, a Congressional gold medal recipient, won the contest for the 17-year-olds. The contest was open for girls between 13 and 17. The All-Stars were chosen from more than 1,000 entries received, according to the magazine's senior editor Jennifer Leonard.

Seventeen is a 60-year-old publication, owned by Hearst Communications, Inc and aimed at women ages 12. It reaches 14.45 million readers nationwide, according to the magazine.

"Our all-stars were chosen because they represent the best possible role models for our readers," Leonard told rediff- India Abroad. "They have excellent grades, are involved in a great deal of activities, and have worked hard to give back to their communities.

"Also, they are simply all-around nice and sweet girls, the kind who will be there to help whenever someone needs it," she said.

Komarla will be featured in the February edition of the magazine, and her story will be updated periodically. She was in New York recently for a photo shoot with the magazine on Liberty Island. Komarla was recognized for her 'exemplary' program at a cancer center, among other things.

She has been volunteering at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa for the past four years. She began a project there to keep the patients entertained in the waiting room or while they receive treatment. She has raised more than $4,000 for this project and is working on expanding it.

Komarla won the Congressional gold medal earlier this year under the Congressional awards program which honors young Americans for their work in four areas: volunteer public service, personal development, physical fitness, and exploration activities.

She is among the top one percent of her class and has also received various other academic and service awards, according to her mother Kausalya Komarla.

The awards she has received include All-American scholar honor, Principal's honor-roll recognition, Presidential Service Award, Key Scholar honor, Girl Scout Gold Award, Hugh O'Brien Youth Leadership Award, Bright House Networks Youth Volunteer Service Award, and Athena Young Woman of Promise honor. She is a semi-finalist in this year's Coca-Cola Scholars program.

She is a member of the student advisory board of Tampa Bay Buccaneers. She writes for St Petersburg Times as a teen reporter. After working for her school newspaper for three years, she has been selected to become its editor-in-chief. Komarla is interested in pursuing a career in medicine or journalism, according to her mother.

Komarla is the founder and president of her school's South Asian club, SAMOSA.

Seventeen's other All-Star winners are Jamie Buchanan, 13, of Darien, Connecticut; Patricia Sanchez, 14, of Narco, California; Anne Brooker, 15, of Minneapolis, Minnesota and Emily Wemhoff, 16, of Creson, Nebraska. The magazine plans to conduct the contest annually, according to Leonard.

A correspondent