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Students at West Hartford’s Hall High School Named Presidential Scholar Finalists

U.S. Presidential Scholar Program finalists from Hal High School include (from left): Margaret Kinabrew, Jakob Woods Weber, and Joseph Siegel. Photo credit: Jenny Bronson

Four students from Hall High School are among the candidates for the 2016 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.

U.S. Presidential Scholar Program finalists from Hal High School include (from left): Margaret Kinabrew, Jakob Woods Weber, and Joseph Siegel. Photo credit: Jenny Bronson

U.S. Presidential Scholar Program finalists from Hal High School include (from left): Margaret Kinabrew, Jakob Woods Weber, and Joseph Siegel. Photo credit: Jenny Bronson

By Ronni Newton

An unprecedented number of students from West Hartford’s Hall High School have reached the final stages of the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program this year.

There are only 110 finalists in the state of Connecticut, and among them are four Hall High School seniors – Margaret Kinabrew, Joseph Siegel, Michael Stambler, and Jakob Woods Weber. From those finalists, two will be ultimately chosen as Connecticut’s U.S. Presidential Scholars.

In addition, students are chosen at large from throughout the country for the arts and career/technical education portion of the program. A total of 161 Presidential Scholars will be named this year.

Michael Stambler is one of the finalists for the 2016 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. Submitted photo

Michael Stambler is one of the finalists for the 2016 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. Submitted photo

“Any school would be proud to have one candidate for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, but to have four is truly incredible,” Hall Principal Dan Zittoun said. “The students should be proud of their hard work and dedication to get to this point and we look forward to supporting them through the remainder of the selection process.”

West Hartford has had three Presidential Scholars in the past seven years, Superintendent Tom Moore told the Board of Education last week.

Two Hall students received the honor in 2014. Marisa Mitrano was named a U.S. Presidential Scholar and Thomas Doelger was named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts.

According to the U.S. Presidential Scholars website, the program was established in 1964 to honor “some of our nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors.” The arts component was added in 1979 and in 2015 the program expanded to also recognize “students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields.”

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program is not a scholarship, but students who have been chosen receive an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. and are honored with a medallion at a ceremony sponsored by the White House.

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