Saluting Excellence: Overton High School student named U.S. Presidential Scholar

On top of the National Merit Scholars named earlier today, an Overton High School student has earned another of the country's top academic prizes. Nhung Hoang has been named a Presidential Scholar, one of just 141 in the nation and four in the state of Tennessee to earn the honor. Nhung may be one of the top high school graduates in the country, but this announcement took even her by surprise:

I actually found out about being the female representative for Tennessee through a friend. He sent me a "congratulations" text and a link to the Tennessean article. I had to read it a couple times before the news completely soaked in. I was speechless and delightfully surprised. Seeing my name in the article was one of the best feelings ever.

I didn't know what the Presidential Scholars Program was before I applied, but I felt really honored to be Overton High School's nominee. I submitted an application to the Tennessee Board of Education, not expecting to get very far. I was really excited to be notified that they had selected me as one of ten nominees for the national round!

This may sound weird, but I actually enjoyed working on the essay portion of the national application. There were five essays, and answering them took a lot of deep consideration and remembrance of the last four years of my life as a high school student. It was nice to look back and see how fulfilling and awesome my experience at Overton has been.

I gave my all to the application, but I never imagined making it to the final round. This has been such an honor, and I sincerely appreciate all the support that my school and my community has given me. I am so excited about visiting Washington, D.C. this summer and meeting fellow scholars. It's an honor to get to represent Overton, MNPS, and Tennessee.

The honor is all ours, Nhung. We are so proud of everything you have accomplished.

Just in case you haven't heard of the Presidential Scholars program either, here's a bit more information from the U.S. Department of Education:

“Presidential Scholars demonstrate the accomplishments that can be made when students challenge themselves, set the highest standards, and commit themselves to excellence,” [U.S. Secretary of Education Arne] Duncan said. “These scholars are poised to make their mark on our nation in every field imaginable: the arts and humanities, science and technology, law and medicine, business and finance, education and government—to name a few. Their academic and artistic achievements reflect a sense of purpose that we should seek to instill in all students to prepare them for college, careers, civic responsibilities, and the challenges of today’s job market.”

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, appointed by President Obama, selects honored scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals. Of the three million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 4,300 candidates qualified for the 2015 awards determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, and through nominations made by Chief State School Officers or the National YoungArts Foundation’s nationwide YoungArts™ competition.

Nhung will be honored during a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on June 21, where she will receive a Presidential Scholar Medallion.