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NA has four candidates for U.S. Presidential Scholars Program

Karen Kadilak Karen Kadilak
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Christopher Lee
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Sarah Wang
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Adelle Fernando
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Ethan James

After achieving athletic success, North Allegheny senior Ethan James has earned a huge academic honor.

James, 18, of McCandless, is a candidate for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program announced recently by the U.S. Department of Education.

James helped the Tiger boys cross country team to WPIAL and PIAA Class AAA titles in the fall. He is considering continuing his career at a small college, where he plans to study chemical engineering or computer science.

“This is the highest academic honor that I have received,” he said. “It will be tough for me to top.”

James is one of four candidates from North Allegheny, which school spokeswoman Emily Schaffer said is the most in recent years. North Allegheny student Julie Chen was a finalist in 2017.

Christoper Lee, 18, of McCandless, said he is excited to be selected because it is a very special recognition. He plans to attend Harvard to study environmental science and engineering.

Adelle Fernando, 17, of Franklin Park, said it is a unique opportunity to be recognized with students from across the country. Undecided about a college, she plans to study computer science and film.

Sarah Wang, 18, of McCandless, also was selected. She will attend the University of Pennsylvania to pursue bioengineering.

Established in 1964 by executive order of the President, the program recognizes some of the nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors.

Approximately 20 females and 20 males are selected from each state, generally on SAT and ACT scores. Application is by invitation only.

A review committee evaluates candidates on their academic achievement, personal characteristics, leadership and service activities and an analysis of their essay.

The Commission selects up to 161 U.S. Presidential Scholars each year.

All scholars are honored during the National Recognition Program in June. They receive an expenses-paid trip to Washington D.C., where they are awarded the U.S. Presidential Scholars Medallion at a ceremony sponsored by the White House.

North Allegheny Principal Dr. John Kreider said the candidates are role models, who have the potential to have a significant impact on society.

“This recognition is a direct reflection of their scholarly approach,” he said.

Candidates from other northern Allegheny County and southern Butler County schools are Elizabeth Kaslewicz of Fox Chapel, Nicholas Lauer of Shady Side Academy, Christina Patterson of Vincentian, Joseph Cafaro of Hampton and Rishin Sharma of Seneca Valley.

Karen Kadilak is a
Tribune-Review contributor.