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The Most Scholarly of Them All

By definition, the Presidential Scholars Award is one of the most prestigious awards in the nation. The United States Presidential Scholars Program is a program of the Department of Education that recognizes the academic achievements of distinguished U.S. citizens graduating high school. It is described as "one of the Nation's highest honors for high school students" in the United States of America. The Kettle Moraine School for Arts and Performance is lucky to be represented for this award by Natalie Giombi, along with two other students from the Kettle Moraine High School campus.
Natalie Giombi, Jacob Cavaiani, and Hannah Healy have been nominated for the award. Healy was automatically nominated for receiving an impressive 36 on her ACT. Cavaiani and Giombi, however, were nominated by their principals for one of the following categories: Academic Excellence, Career and Technical Excellence, Artistic Excellence, or "Ability to overcome hardships while still maintaining excellence". Giombi, who was chosen as a candidate for the "overcoming obstacles" category, gushed over her excitement of the nomination. "This achievement is very special to me because I feel it really shows all of the work I have put into my high school education," she said. "There are always rough patches, but it is awards like this one that make them worth it. It showcases everything I have to be proud of, and validates all of my hard work."

Healy shares the thrill of the recognition; "I am extremely honored to be nominated for this award," she stated. "To be recognized among some really fantastic and amazing students is incredibly humbling."

Those nominated for the award have to go through an extensive process in order to become finalists. "I wrote three essays to apply for [the] nomination. For the U.S. Department of Education application, I wrote numerous essays, shared my resume information, and received a recommendation from Mr. Walters," said Cavaiani. The representatives were required to fill out a lengthy application, which was sent to the state superintendent. The superintendent chose 10 males and 10 females, and Cavaiani and Giombi were both among that 20. In total, 79 nominees from Wisconsin met the academic criteria, the other 59 being made up of students who got perfect ACT scores. From there, the 79 from Wisconsin along with the other 4,000 students nationwide had to fill out another application, which will be reviewed and narrowed into semi-finalists and then finalists. By the time the process is complete, there will be 161 finalists who receive their award in Washington DC this June. 

"The Kettle Moraine School District is very proud to have three students as candidates" said Superintendent Pat Deklotz. "This recognition is well deserved by Natalie, Hannah, and Jacob for their hard work and dedication to school and community. We wish them well as they continue in the program's selection process." Give the nominees your best regards, as they will be notified in early April as to their standings in the competition.

For more information on the program, visit their website.

Emily Giombi
April, 2016