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Making His Case


What does the future hold for Danville’s Kevin Zhou? Presidential speechwriting? New Yorker essays? Schmoozing with Stephanopoulos?

Zhou, a senior at Monte Vista High, certainly has a good start in the art of political persuasion. In May, he won a Profile in Courage Essay Contest sponsored by the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston. He wrote a thoughtful defense of the Humboldt County district attorney, Paul Gallegos, who faced a recall election in 2004 after challenging the environmental practices of the Pacific Lumber Company. Along with $3,000 in scholarship money and a trip to Boston, Zhou got to chat with some Kennedys. “It’s one of the most prestigious essay contests in the country,” Zhou says. “I was really excited to meet Senator [Ted] Kennedy and Caroline Kennedy.”

Although Zhou has always loved to write, he doesn’t pen confessional blogs or teen angst poems. He turns to his favorite current events magazines and wonkish publications like Foreign Affairs to research his screeds, which often end up as op-ed pieces in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Los Angeles Times.

When not writing essays, Zhou plays basketball with friends and scores high on his SATs (1560). Passionate about politics, he immersed himself in both sides of the red-blue divide this summer by interning for Republican state Assemblyman Guy Houston and Democratic U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. He hopes to attend Harvard, Yale, or Stanford to study government, journalism, or law.


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