Melissa Xu: Presidential Scholar

By Roma Khan ’20

Melissa Xu ’20 recently received a nomination to be a 2020 US Presidential Scholars candidate.

 The US Presidential Scholars is, according to their website, a program whose mission is to “recognize and honor some of our Nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors,” who either demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative, and performing arts or demonstrate accomplishments or ability in career and technical education fields. Those nominated possess “scholarship, leadership, artistic excellence and selfless service to others.”

 Only up to 161 students in the entire nation are named US Presidential Scholars, making it one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students.

 Towards the end of January, Xu received an email stating her nomination. 

“At first, I thought it was a scam,” Xu said. “I didn’t even know that such a program existed, so naturally I forwarded the email to my college counselor, Ms. Hoyt.” 

It was only after Lauren Hoyt’s confirmation that Xu realized that her nomination was in fact, legitimate, which led her to do a bit of research into the program.

 “Although I do dabble in art and drawing, it’s nothing serious or groundbreaking enough to be nomination worthy,” Xu said. “To be honest, my nomination is probably from all the College Board tests I’ve taken,” Xu explains. 

Xu modestly assumes that her nomination is merely due to her “multiple choice test skills.” However, it truly is an academic achievement to have earned a spot among the nation’s top 0.1%. But the journey has just begun. Xu will still need to solidify her position among the finalists.

For the nominees who get selected as finalists, they not only will be honored for their accomplishments with a paid trip to Washington, D.C. for the National Recognition Program, but they will also be able to meet with government officials, educators and other accomplished people in different fields. 

According to their official website, “to commemorate their achievement, the Scholars are awarded the Presidential Scholars Medallion at a ceremony sponsored by the White House,” a once in a lifetime achievement. We hope the best for Melissa Xu as she continues to strive for great things in life.

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