Gov. Shumlin honors Presidential Scholars semi-finalists
April 25, 2013 - MONTPELIER - Gov. Peter Shumlin today congratulated the six Vermont semifinalists of the 2013 Presidential Scholars Program who were chosen for their academic and artistic success, leadership abilities, and community and school involvement.
“The Presidential Scholars program recognizes some of the nation’s most distinguished graduating seniors,” the Governor said. “These young Vermonters have worked hard to achieve this success and I am proud of their accomplishments. This is also a recognition of all of the other important players -- parents and family members, teachers, fellow students, friends and neighbors – who have supported the hard work and commitment of these remarkable achievers.”
Started in 1964 by President Lyndon Johnson, the program each year selects up to 141 students from across the nation. According to the federal Department of Education, these Presidential Scholars represent “excellence in education and the promise of greatness.” Finalists will be selected shortly, and the scholars will be honored in a ceremony in Washington D.C. in June.
The six Vermont semifinalists are:
- Abigail J. Dutton, South Royalton, Sharon Academy
- David R. Fickes, Peacham, St. Johnsbury Academy
- Julia H. Gilbert, Montpelier High School
- Sossina R. Gutema, Essex, Essex High School
- Timothy F. Rizvanov, Essex Junction, Essex High School
- Lucy E. Rogers, Waterville, Lamoille Union High School
This year’s semifinalists, winnowed from a list of 46 in Vermont and 3,900 nationally, include a talented violinist, a student who will study neuroscience at Yale next fall, and more bright accomplishments.
Gov. Shumlin, who devoted his second inaugural address to education issues, also highlighted the process regarding education initiatives moving through the Legislature or being implemented by the administration to strengthen public education and provide Vermonters the academic and job training programs they need to ensure lifelong success.
- An Early Childhood Summit planned for this Fall to develop a statewide framework for ensuring children have a strong start in school. The Administration is coordinating planning.
- $400,000 to provide grants to help with start-up costs of first-year publicly financed preschool. The Agency of Education is funding and coordinating the program.
- $322,250 to ensure all low income students have access to school lunch; passed House and Senate, funding included in annual budget bill.
- The Secretaries of Education and Human Services are working together to promote full-service schools.
- Flexible Pathways, making its way through the Legislature – personalized learning plans for every student, increased internship opportunities, enhanced career and technical education, and access to college courses during high school years.
- Rigorous math requirements for all high school students, up for State Board approval in June.
- $2.5 million for the University of Vermont, Vermont State Colleges and VSAC earmarked solely for financial aid to Vermont students, proposed by the Governor’s budget and approved by the House.
- A Vermont Strong Scholars Program, beginning in FY16, to help Vermonters to study science, technology, engineering and math in preparation for filling good-paying jobs, under consideration by the Legislature.
“These Presidential Scholar semifinalists excel in the arts and in academics. We need all of our students to excel in school, and so we need to provide rigorous training and support our children from pre-kindergarten through career to ensure that Vermont’s public education system remains at the top of the class,” the Governor said. “This will also help ensure our children have an opportunity when they are adults to pursue the best jobs possible, right here in Vermont.”