Only 31 scholars from Florida have been chosen as semifinalists
Alison Pager, a graduating senior at Hernando High School, is part of an elite group of students across the nation. She is one of 630 semifinalists for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. There are only 31 semifinalists from the state of Florida. There was an initial pool of 5300 student candidates from around the country.
2018 marks the 54th year of the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. Scholars are selected by their schools and school districts to compete for the honor on the basis of “superior academic and artistic achievements, leadership qualities, strong character and involvement in community and school activities.” There are three categories for which nominations are given: academics, the arts and career/technical education fields. Alison Pager was nominated by the district for academics while Gabriel Laverghetta from Nature Coast Technical High School was nominated for the career and technical category.
Up to 161 U.S. Presidential Scholars will be chosen from the group of semifinalists this month. The semifinalists are reviewed by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars. The finalists are invited to attend the National Recognition Program in Washington D.C. The event includes a variety of enrichment activities, meeting with government officials and educators. All of the finalists are awarded the Presidential Scholar Medal during a White House sponsored ceremony.
Pager has been extremely active in the community and within her school. She is President of the National Honor Society, HHS Key Club, as well as the Interact Club Secretary and the Class of 2018 Secretary. She is the HHS Senior Student Delegate, School Advisory Council Secretary, and the Academic Team Captain.
“I love being a part of these organizations because they keep me updated and involved in the county and school events. I also enjoy volunteering and helping with service projects in our community,” Pager remarked.
She is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Brooksville's AYF Leadership program and assists with their community events.
“My favorite community event is Relay for Life and I have been involved with the planning committee for a couple of years, the event has a special place in my heart, I love the impact it has,” said Pager.
Through volunteering, Pager says, “I have had the chance to meet so many amazing and inspirational people in our community who make a big impact, and they have inspired me to want to be more and help more. This also helped influence my career choice and what I wanted to study in college.”
Pager will be attending the University of Florida to double major in Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering to pursue a career in prosthetics, health technology, and bionic robotics.
“I hope to be able to use my future education to help build cheaper, better, and more innovative prosthetics that can help more people in need,” she said.
Pager says she is very excited to be a semifinalist for the Presidential Scholars Program and thankful for all the support she has received.
“I am super thankful and grateful to my guidance counselor, teachers, and principal for nominating me and seeing potential to me, this has been such an amazing opportunity!”
To future nominees from Hernando County, she urges, “Definitely take the time to carefully fill out the application. This program and recognition means so much to me and I am so proud to have gotten to this level.”
2018 Semifinalists from Florida:
Sidhika Balachandar, Gainesville ‐ Buchholz High School
James Balo, Miami ‐ Design & Architecture Senior High School
Suzanne Brown, Sarasota ‐ Pine View School
Sydney Burtis, Kissimmee ‐ Burtis Home‐School
Melissa Fernandez‐Flores, Miami ‐ New World School of the Arts
Elena Gonzalez, Cutler Bay ‐ New World School of the Arts
Ishmael Gonzalez, Hialeah ‐ New World School of the Arts
Mitchell P. Greene, Saint Petersburg ‐ Shorecrest Preparatory School
Carson C. Hamel, Seminole ‐ Center for Advanced Technologies
Gregory Han, Ocala ‐ Vanguard High SchoolVanguard
Caroline Hanson, Youngstown ‐ Deane Bozeman School
Hunter W. Holland, Treasure Island ‐ Shorecrest Preparatory School
Megan Hostetler, West Palm Beach ‐ Alexander W Dreyfoos School of the Arts
Gerald M. Huang, Saint Johns ‐ Allen D Nease High School
Tianlin Ji, Tampa Palms ‐ C. Leon King High School
Nithya Kasarla, Plantation ‐ American Heritage Sch Plantatn
Tamim Kawakibi, Pensacola ‐ Pensacola High School
Steven W. Li, Gainesville ‐ Buchholz High School
Leanne Lin, Doral ‐ Design & Architecture Senior High School
Grant J. LoPresti, Lutz ‐ George M. Steinbrenner High School
Charitha Moparthy, Tallahassee ‐ James S. Rickards High School
Alison Pager, Brooksville ‐ Hernando High School
Max P. Ranis, Pembroke Pines ‐ American Heritage School Plantation
Ashlee J. Sealy, Homestead ‐ Medical Academy for Science and Technology
Zachary A. Shevin, Boca Raton ‐ Pine Crest School
Joshua A. Solesbury, Coral Gables ‐ Ransom Everglades School
Felipe Urrutia, Miami ‐ Ransom Everglades School
Meghana Vemulapalli, Delray Beach ‐ American Heritage School Boca/Delray
Anmol Warman, Lutz ‐ Academy at the Lakes
Ryan P. Whelan, Tarpon Springs ‐ Berkeley Preparatory School
Jorge F. Zreik, Key Biscayne ‐ Ransom Everglades School