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Three Hawaii Public School Students Selected for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program

Seniors from Mililani High School, Waipahu High School and Kalani High School have been selected as semifinalists for the 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. These students were selected out of 5,100 candidates and are in the running, along with 723 semifinalists nationwide, to be in the 53rd class of U.S. Presidential Scholars.

L to R: Emily Yang, Jommel Macaraeg, Tyler Labonte

The 2017 Hawaii public school semifinalists include:

  • Tyler Labonte, Mililani High School
  • Jommel Macaraeg, Waipahu High School
  • Emily Yang, Kalani High School.

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964 to honor distinguished graduating seniors. The program recognizes students who demonstrate exceptional academic performance, talent in the visual, creative and performing arts and accomplishment in career and technical education fields, as well as evidence of community service, civic leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.

“Congratulations to these outstanding students, their families and schools for receiving this prestigious recognition acknowledging their hard work and commitment to academic and civic excellence,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We wish them the best of luck as the finalists are selected, as well as continued success as they pursue their college and career goals.”

As a third degree black in Karate, Tyler Labonte has the discipline and drive it takes to balance a full schedule, which includes advanced placement classes, extracurricular activities and a part-time job. He is currently a member of the Mililani High Student Senate, a programmer for the school’s VEX Robotics team, state president for SkillsUSA Hawaii and executive committee member of Mensa Hawaii.

Jommel Macaraeg has taken on numerous leadership roles at Waipahu High including class president during his junior and senior years, president of Waipahu High’s Academy of Health and Sciences House Council, and secretary for the school’s National Honor Society. He has also balanced a rigorous class schedule maintaining a 4.075 grade point average, while also giving back to the community by volunteering at events like the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Walk, the Great Aloha Run and the Taste of Waipahu.

Emily Yang will be graduating as the top valedictorian of Kalani High and plans on attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she will major in Biology. Her interest and talent in science has helped her win numerous awards at district and state Science and Engineering Fairs. This year, she competed in a science fair in Japan and was a return participant at the 2017 Intel international Science and Engineering Fair.

Annually, up to 161 students are chosen for one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students. For more information about the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, click here.

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