Alexina Federhen with William Hermann of Arlington during the Great Race on Sunday in Bennington./Derek Carson
Alexina Federhen with William Hermann of Arlington during the Great Race on Sunday in Bennington./Derek Carson

BENNINGTON -- The Alexander Hamilton Friends Association of Seattle has announced that a Mount Anthony Union High School rising senior will be one of the recipients of their Alexander Hamilton Citizenship Achievement Award.

Alexina Federhen, who won Sen. Bernie Sanders' State of the Union Essay Contest earlier this year, is one of 36 students across 19 states who will receive the award. Winners receive a $500 scholarship, a commemorative certificate, various Hamilton memorabilia, and acceptance into the Friends' Hamilton Leaders Academy. The judges evaluated 519 applicants from 47 states on three factors: Achievement, including scholastic, entrepreneurial, and personal achievement, service to their community, and financial need. Sixty candidates were chosen for final interviews.

The Hamilton Academy consists of various conference calls and activities, leading up to a week-long Leader Week in Seattle in June 2015. All Hamilton award winners are expected to participate. Students who complete the academy are named Hamilton Scholars.

"Our goal is to identify young people who have set high standards for citizenship and success in their lives," said George T. Cox, founder and senior director of the Hamilton Friends, "We are very excited about Alexina's potential for future greatness. The Bennington community is lucky to have Alexina as a resident."

Federhen was crowned as 2014's Miss Vermont Outstanding Teen in April, running on an anti-bullying platform. According to Miss Vermont's website, during the next year, she wants to reach out to children and teens to give them the tools to prevent bullying. In 2012, Federhen, fresh off being named Miss Vermont High School America, was a finalist in the Rite Aid Glam Camp Model Search. At the time, she spoke out about the opportunities such a contest provides, saying, "What I'm really big on is anti-bullying, and also protecting the environment, and I'd love to have a platform so I could actually get that out there. In middle school I was bullied a lot, and it wasn't fun. It was really hard to get support, and I think that really needs to change. People need to understand that bullying isn't just about calling somebody a name and you get over it. It really sticks with you and you start hearing it over and over again, and you go, ‘Oh, maybe that is true.'"

Hamilton Friends was founded by Cox, who felt that Hamilton was among the most under-appreciated of the founding fathers, in 2004. Since that time, they have recognized over 500 high school students for their service and achievement. Their mission, as stated on their website, is to "identify young Americans who, like the young Alexander Hamilton, demonstrate leadership abilities, academic excellence, a passion for public service, and financial need, and, through practical training programs, internship experiences, and financial assistance, help them reach their highest personal and career goals."

Derek Carson can be reached for comment at dcarson@benningtonbanner.com. Follow him on Twitter @DerekCarsonBB