Updated (4/21) with comments from Valhalla High School principal Jon Thomas and other edits.
Julian Guy, a senior and honors student at Valhalla High School, has been selected as a 2012 Presidential Scholar, one of 141 students this year to receive the national honor.
Guy, an artist, accomplished academic and National Merit semifinalist, will attend a ceremony honoring the students in Washington, D.C. on June 16. The honorees will each receive a Presidential Scholar Medallion.
The honor is given to one male and one female high school senior from each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. families living overseas, as well as 15 chosen at-large and 20 Presidential Scholars in the Arts. The honorees have demonstrated community service, academic excellence and commitment to high ideals.
Guy has helped collect shoes for the needy, scored highly on college entrance and school exams, and has taken college-level courses in calculus, physics and biochemistry, according to an article on Guy in the fall 2011 edition of Voyages, the Valhalla school district’s newsletter.
Jon Thomas, Valhalla High’s principal, said Guy is deserving of the award. An honors and advanced placement student who is also on the tennis team, Guy is an active member of the student body, always looking for ways to help others and the school, Thomas said.
“Julian’s the kind of young man that everybody wants to have in their class,” he said this afternoon. “He is somebody who takes 100 percent pride in everything he does. (The school is) very proud of him.”
Guy also took part in the Minority Introduction to Engineering Sciences, a summer program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The senior has also had his art displayed in an exhibit at Concordia College.
Guy “certainly will graduate as one of our top students in a long time,” Andy Kupec, Valhalla High’s director of guidance, said in the Voyages article. “He has a real passion for learning, loves to be challenged and does things outside of the classroom that already set him apart.”
Since 1964, the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, appointed by President Obama, has chosen students to be honored annually, considering essays, SAT and ACT scores, school evaluations, transcripts and other criteria. This year, more than 3,300 candidates qualified for the 2012 awards.
Each scholar has the opportunity to recognize their most inspiring and challenging teacher. Guy chose Irene Torrieri, the math lead teacher at Valhalla High School who teaches advanced math courses. She will accompany Guy to the awards ceremony and receive a Teacher Recognition Award from the U.S. Department of Education.
Thomas said Torrieri, who is also an adviser to the senior class and a professor at Westchester Community College, is a model teacher who works hard to help students achieve.
“She gets very hands on with the students and is very involved,” Thomas said.
Read about the other awardees here.