Ezgi Ustundag named presidential scholar Monday, May 21, 2012 By Abigail Moats
Throughout the history of Ames High, our school has earned, and maintained a strong reputation for academic excellence. This excellence is manifested in a variety of ways, and has been most recently through our strong performance in national academic contests such as the National Merit and Presidential Scholar competitions. Every year, out of the approximately 3 million students who take the SAT and ACT, a select group of students, typically around 3,300 qualify as candidates for the national presidential scholar program. Out of these students, the most qualified candidates (around 500 in number) are chosen as semi-finalists for the program and from there, 141 students chosen as presidential scholars. This year, two Ames High students, seniors Lauren Naylor and Victor Wang, were selected as candidates for the program, and one Ames High student, senior Ezgi Ustundag, was selected for the honor of presidential scholar. Ustundag, along with the other students who participated in the competition went through a rigorous application process, where they submitted several candidacy materials including school transcripts, self-assessments, and multiple essays. After the different applications were reviewed, the top students were selected for the presidential scholarship. This scholarship, which is given out by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars and the US Department of Education provides many opportunities for the students who receive it. Thus summer, Ustundag, along with the other presidential scholars will travel to Washington DC for the National Recognition Weekend program. During this time, the awardees will partake in a wide range of activities including seminars, workshops, and lectures with government officials and other noted leaders. The weekend will culminate with a White House sponsored event, where each of the scholars will receive their presidential medallion.