MAU student named Vermont presidential scholar

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BENNINGTON — One Mount Anthony High School student has been named as a Vermont Presidential Scholar, and could have an opportunity to represent the state at the national level.

Sophia Prandini is one of 20 Vermont high school seniors, 10 men and 10 women, recognized in the general education category for displaying, "outstanding scholarship, leadership, and service to their communities," according to a release from the state Agency of Education. Each of the students has also been invited to apply to the U.S. Presidential Scholars program, which honors up to 161 students from across the country at a ceremony in Washington D.C.

Besides the excellent test scores that made her eligible for the award, Prandini is a member of the school's track and field team and has donated much of her time to community service, through both MAU's Interact Club and as a student ambassador for the Alliance for Community Transformations.

Tim Russell, who is currently Prandini's indoor track coach, praised her work ethic on and off the field. "In the past she has focused on throwing," he said, "but these last few months she has emerged as a class sprinter as well. Sophia is more than just an excellent athlete, she is a leader, a planner, and an all around great person. Each member of the track team is lucky to have her as a captain and a friend."

Two students from the Northshire also received the Vermont Presidential Scholars designation: Ramsay Eyre and Olivia Kuk of Burr and Burton Academy.

"All of these students are being recognized not just for exceptional academics and skill, but also for personal leadership and service. Many of them overcame extraordinary adversity on their way to this recognition. We are incredibly proud to have students like this represent Vermont as Presidential Scholars," said Vermont Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe.

In 2015, MAU's Brian Murphy was named as a finalist for the national award, but in the end, Mael Le Scouezec of Craftsbury Academy and Charlotte C. Randall of Harwood Union High School were selected as Vermont's representatives on the national level. Brenden Hay and Kelsey Sherman from MAU were named Vermont Presidential Scholars last year, and were candidates for the national award, until Chloe Lemmel of Essex High School and Alan Chiang of South Burlington High School were named as Vermont's U.S. Presidential Scholars.

The winners of the National Presidential Scholars awards will be announced in May.

Founded in 1964 by executive order, the Presidential Scholars program recognizes high school seniors who, "represent excellence in education and the promise of greatness in young people," according to the Agency of Education's website, "In honoring the U.S. Presidential Scholars, the President of the United States symbolically honors all graduating high school seniors of high potential."

Reach staff writer Derek Carson at 802-447-7567, ext. 122 or @DerekCarsonBB

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