Earlier last month, Alexander Jin ’14 was announced a U.S. Presidential Scholar. He was chosen from over 3,900 students who qualified for the award and several million high school students—in the U.S. and abroad—who will graduate this year. Only 141 students won the award this year.
The U.S. Presidential Scholar award recognizes academic or artistic excellence of high school seniors. The award, currently in its 50th year, was established in 1964 by an executive order from President Eisenhower.
Jin will be going on a trip to Washington D.C., where he will receive the award at the White House and may meet President Obama himself.
“I’m just grateful that they’ve recognized what I’ve done, and I’m really grateful especially for [history teacher Gregory Hand] … He is one of the best people that I’ve ever met,” Jin said. Hand, nominated by Jin, was named one of the 2014 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program’s Distinguished Teachers.
The application for the award is invitation only, and the preliminary selection is based on SAT and ACT scores. Students must reach a certain benchmark to be nominated for the award. Further selections are then made based upon students’ academic success, service to the community, and essays.
Guidance counselor Kristina Donovan, who is Jin’s counselor and was important in the nomination process, said, “[Jin] is a wonderful student; I feel that he worked very, very hard on it … It was my pleasure to work with him and to support him in whatever he needed.”