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Parker School Graduate Honored as Presidential Scholar

July 18, 2014, 3:35 PM HST
* Updated July 18, 4:15 PM
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A 2014 graduate of Parker School in Waimea was recognized last month as among the top UH high school students at a ceremony at the White House.

Lysha Matsunobu was among 141 US Presidential Scholar finalists nationwide taking part in the ceremony held June 22-25. The event included meeting first lady Michelle Obama and presentation of the Presidential Scholar medallion by US Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

Students from private schools in Waimea have been prominent among Hawaii winners in the Presidential Scholar program, taking four of six available spots over the past three years.

They include Paul Gregg from Parker School and Zoe Sims from Hawaii Preparatory Academy last year, and Kyle Matsuda from HPA in 2012.

The scholars consist of one young man and one young woman from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico and from US families living abroad, as well as 15 chosen at-large. There are also 20 Presidential Scholars chosen on the basis of scholarship in the visual or performing arts or creative writing.

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The awards are based on academic achievements, transcripts, school evaluations, leadership skills, personal essays and community service.

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Application for the program is by invitation only; more than 3,900 candidates qualified for the program this year based on their performance in SAT and ACT exams, and through nominations by chief state school officials or the YoungArts competition.

The 50th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars at the White House last month with first lady Michelle Obama (center) and members of the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars seated in front. Parker School graduate Lysha Matsunobu is standing in the second row of scholars, fourth to the left of center.

The 50th class of US Presidential Scholars at the White House last month with first lady Michelle Obama (center) and members of the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, seated in front. Parker School graduate Lysha Matsunobu is standing in the second row of scholars, fourth to the left of center (click to enlarge).

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