Student Chosen as Presidential Scholars Program Semifinalist

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Natalie Wallas, a senior from Grand Ledge High School, was recently selected as a semifinalist in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.

Nominated by MaryEllen Brocklehurst, student services coordinator and counselor at the Eaton Regional Education Service Agency’s Career Preparation Center, Wallas has exemplified all the aspects of a Presidential Scholar. Wallas is a student in the mechatronics and robotics program at the Career Preparation Center and was previously a student in the diesel equipment repair program.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the Presidential Scholars Program was created to recognize and honor some of the nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors. Each year, up to 161 students are named Presidential Scholars, one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students.

“This honor took a lot of hard work to accomplish, so to find out that I am a semifinalist is very exciting,” Wallas said. “I cannot thank Mrs. Brocklehurst and everyone else who played major roles in the process enough. I was truly touched by the support I received from all those involved at Eaton RESA and Grand Ledge High School. I look forward to seeing the outcome.”

Students can become Presidential Scholars based on three paths of accomplishment: broad academic achievement, academic and artistic achievement in visual and performing arts or creative writing, and outstanding accomplishments in career and technical education fields. The latter is the case for Wallas and 19 other students.

“Natalie is very deserving of this honor both in her pursuit of quality academic work and support to fellow students,” Brocklehurst noted. “She is an amazing young woman with multiple talents and demonstrates excellence in everything she does. I am grateful to have known her the past two years while she was a student at Eaton RESA along with serving as a state officer for SkillsUSA Michigan.”

This month, the Commission on Presidential Scholars will review the applications of all semifinalists based on the same criteria used by the initial review committee. All scholars are honored for their accomplishments during the National Recognition Program, held in June in Washington, D.C. To commemorate their achievement, the winners are awarded the U.S. Presidential Scholars medallion at a ceremony sponsored by the White House. In the fall, Wallas will be attending Michigan Technological University to obtain a degree in mechanical engineering.

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