Wang named 2012 U.S. Presidential Scholar

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Thursday June 07, 2012

Kevin Wang, an accomplished student at South Burlington High School, has been selected by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan as a presidential scholar.

Wang is one of 141 American high school seniors that have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, artistic excellence, leadership, citizenship, service, and contribution to school and community. In addition to his academic accomplishments, Wang has been involved with the Scholar’s Bowl, Debate Team, Math League and student council during his time at SB High School.

The application process is quite involved. It includes submission of SAT scores, short answer questions, a longer essay, transcript, and a letter of recommendation. After applying, it took months for Kevin to even hear that he was a semifinalist. Then, in early May, he was notified that he was named a presidential scholar. He will leave June 16th, the day after his high school graduation, for Washington D.C. to receive his official honor. Wang recommended Eric Stone, a math teacher at the school and his Scholar’s Bowl coach, to receive recognition as well.

South Burlington High School principal Patrick Burke said, “The honor for Kevin and the school is quite significant. I am uniquely proud of what Kevin has been able to accomplish, not only in an academic setting, but in terms of his character and kindness which come through daily at the school.”

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, appointed by President Obama, selects honored scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals. Of the three million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 3,300 candidates qualified for the 2012 awards determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, and through nominations made by Chief State School Officers or the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts nationwide YoungArts™ competition.

“Honoring Presidential Scholars is an important celebration of students showing the dedication, creativity and ambition to become future leaders,” Duncan said. “As national, state and local leaders work side by side with principals, teachers, and parents to make our schools better, we can learn from the students all around us whose hard work and accomplishments embody the kind of excellence we want every child to achieve.”

The 2012 Presidential Scholars are comprised of one young man and one young woman from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and from U.S. families living abroad, as well as 15 chosen at-large and 20 Presidential Scholars in the Arts. Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored more than 6,000 of the nation’s top-performing students with the prestigious award given to honorees during the annual ceremony in D.C. The program was expanded in 1979 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, literary and performing arts. Since 1983, each Presidential Scholar has been offered the opportunity to invite his or her most inspiring and challenging teacher to the annual ceremony where they are honored with a Teacher Recognition Award from the U.S. Department of Education.

Kevin will be attending Harvard University in the fall and is considering pursuing his interest in law and applied math.

SOURCE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent