3 Area Presidential Scholars Chosen

Benjamin Lei, Daniel Sullivan and Emily Yang

Three outstanding Delaware Valley high school seniors, Benjamin Lei of Wayne, PA; Daniel Sullivan of Wilmington, DE; and Emily Yang of Newark, DE, have been named 2010 U.S. Presidential Scholars. They have been invited to attend National Recognition Week ceremonies in Washington, DC, June 19-22.

While in Washington, the Scholars participate in seminars, lectures and workshops with government officials, elected representatives, educators, authors, musicians and scientists. The week culminates in a White House-sponsored event at which the Scholars are awarded the Presidential Medallion.

The three area students are among 141 nationwide to receive the honor, including two from each state and territory, at-large selections and 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts. Selections are based on academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.

Benjamin Lei

A student at Conestoga High School in Berwyn, PA. Benjamin describes himself this way in a biography furnished to the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program: "As a student, the driving force behind my life has been a desire to gain as many diverse experiences as possible. Not only does this make life more exciting, it helps me better understand the world and identify the intersection between what I do best and what is most needed. I have explored music by playing violin, and the arts by teaching Chinese Yo-Yo to younger students.

"I have explored politics through Model UN, and math through numerous competitions. In the sciences, I tracked a near-Earth asteroid at the Summer Science Program and modeled the thermomutability of graphene at the Research Science Institute. To share my love of science, I help lead the Astronomy Club at school and organize chemistry demonstrations for elementary students. To date, my explorations have led me to identify strongly with the sciences, international relations, and business—fields I hope to contribute to in the future."

Each U.S. Presidential Scholar may select a teacher for special recognition. Benjamin chose Judith Shepherd, a European literature teacher at Conestoga High School.

Daniel Sullivan

A senior at Salesianum School in Wilmington, Daniel plans to attend Georgetown University. In his biography, he said: "I have have been fortunate enough in my life to have been exposed to a wealth of opportunities and experiences that have been instrumental in shaping who I am. I am the second child in a family of five kids. Two summers ago, I built a house alongside my brother and father. I have traveled to France several times and I have become fluent in the language.

"Through the Interact Club and the Jefferson Awards Team at my school, I have been actively involved in community service efforts. Most of my free time goes to practicing guitar and singing with friends. We have been playing locally in acoustic benefit shows for Uganda set up through Invisible Children for the past few years. After graduating from Georgetown, I plan on getting a J.D./M.B.A. through a joint-degree program. For my career, I hope to work in microfinance focused on societal development."

Daniel chose Neil Kane, a theology teacher at Salesianum School, for special recognition.

Emily Yang

A senior at The Charter School of Wilmington, Emily plans to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A biography provided by the Presidential Scholars Program says:  "Demonstrating an analytical yet creative mindset early on, Emily enjoys taking on a challenge, a drive that inspired her pursuit of engineering in college. Participating in traditional Chinese folk dance since kindergarten, she has since then become head teaching assistant of the CACC Chinese Folk Dance Troupe that has performed at venues like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

"As a cellist, she has played with Delaware’s All-State Orchestra as principal cellist and the All-Eastern Orchestra, among other ensembles. In addition, Emily still finds time to volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House of DE and play singles on Charter’s varsity tennis team. Last summer, she worked on two research projects at the University of Delaware. One was with the Animal and Food Science Department, and the other, entitled ‘The Utilization of Mobility for Socialization in Children with Special Needs,’ involved collaboration between the Departments of Physical Therapy and Mechanical Engineering."

Emily chose David Stover, a physics teacher at the Charter School of Wilmington, for special recognition.

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