Two Alaska students named U.S. Presidential Scholars for 2020

Published: Jun. 2, 2020 at 3:05 PM AKDT
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Two students from Alaska have been named U.S. Presidential Scholars for the class of 2020. This achievement is awarded for a variety of factors, including academic success, excellence in the arts and technology, transcripts, and SAT and ACT scores.

Each year, the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars recognizes the achievements of 161 students from around the country, Puerto Rico, and from U.S. families abroad.

Grace Park, a student enrolled with Fairbanks BEST Homeschool for her senior year, is one of the graduates named. During her high school years, she moved with her parents around the world, making home schooling the easiest option for her.

“It was honestly unexpected, coming to compete against all the seniors around the world, but I was really honored and thankful,” she said.

According to Park, her parents reacted similarly.“They were really excited. My parents are also surprised, and definitely excited for me,” she said.

Park enjoys studying and teaching science and hopes to be a pediatrician in the future. Next fall she plans to attend Wellesley College near Boston, Massachusetts. The form that attendance will take, whether online or in person, is unclear at this point because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Homeschooling may have been an advantage during the educational changes of the last two months of the 2020 school year. “While everyone else was having to transition to online learning, that was my norm,” Park said.

During years past, being a U.S. Presidential Scholar would mean that Park is invited to a congratulatory ceremony in Washington, D.C. This year, however, she has been invited to a virtual ceremony at a time to be announced.

The other student named from Alaska, Gavin Lee Block, attended Mat-Su Middle College School in Palmer, Alaska. Every year, each state receives at least 2 honorees.

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