AMHERST — Three New Hampshire students are being recognized for being among the nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors.
The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars and the U.S. Department of Education have named three Granite State students as 2014 U.S. Presidential Scholars.
Jack Facey of Souhegan High School in Amherst, Julie Becher of Phillips Exeter Academy and Anna DeLoi of Plaistow are among an elite group of about 140 students nationwide to receive the prestigious honor.
“This whole experience has been a crazy whirlwind. I feel very lucky to have made it this far,” DeLoi said on Tuesday.
DeLoi, 18, is a homeschool student whose passion is the arts. While her focus is music, specifically the harp, DeLoi says she has a wide range of interests.
This fall, she will attend Williams College with a double major in music and social sciences.
“I really want to study how the arts impact society,” said DeLoi, who is still amazed by the honor. She was one of only 20 students nationwide to receive a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, which mandates different criteria than a traditional Presidential Scholar award.
Becher, 18, of East Kingston, said she was both surprised and excited to be selected for the honor, which is now very sentimental to her. “For the application I had to select the most meaningful and influential person in my life. I chose my grandfather,” said Becher, adding he was still loving and kind while suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. “He passed away three or four days before I was notified of my placement as a scholar.”Becher, whose hobby is ceramic arts, will attend Dartmouth College this fall, where she plans on majoring in chemistry, with a possible double major in creative writing.
She is active with several clubs and organizations, including Adopt-A-Beach and Kids Create.
Facey, of Amherst, is preparing for his first semester at Brown University this fall, where he will study applied mathematics with a focus on physics.
Facey’s academic achievements include advanced coursework in calculus, statistics, chemistry and more. He plays soccer and indoor track while also participating in the jazz ensemble, concert band, math team and orchestra.
“Jack serves our community as a powerful demonstration of selflessness and determination. It is with great affection and respect that we offer our thanks to Jack for providing our school with such an extraordinary role model,” said Rob Scully, principal at Souhegan High.
“The extraordinary young men and women being honored for the 50th anniversary of the Presidential Scholars have excelled in their educational, artistic and civic pursuits,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement. “They show all of us that when students challenge themselves and commit themselves to excellence, the results can be astounding.”
Duncan said the scholars will help move the country forward by having a lasting impact on their families, communities and society.
“They represent the potential of all young citizens to lift up America,” she added.
All of the selected scholars and their families have been invited to attend a national recognition weekend in Washington, D.C., next month, where they will meet with government officials and educators.
More than 3,900 candidates qualified for the 2014 awards determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, and through nominations made by chief state school officers.
Other work, including school evaluations, transcripts, community service and leadership were also considered. The 2014 U.S. Presidential Scholars are comprised of one young man and one young woman from each state, as well as 15 chosen at-large and 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts.