Anish Athalye, a student at Massachusetts Academy of Math and Science at WPI, was named a Presidential Scholar by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Athalye, a Shrewsbury resident, is one of 141 high school seniors across the nation so honored for their accomplishments in academics or the arts.
The 2013 ceremony will be held June 16, when each honoree will receive a Presidential Scholar Medallion.
"Presidential Scholars demonstrate the accomplishments that can be made when students challenge themselves, set the highest standards, and commit themselves to excellence," Duncan said. "I'm honored to celebrate their creativity, hard work, and community service, and I encourage them —and all students — to continue to showcase the capacity for greatness in our nation's young people."
The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, appointed by President Obama, selects honored scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals. Of the three million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 3,300 candidates qualified for the 2013 awards determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, and through nominations made by chief state school officers or the National YoungArts Foundation's nationwide YoungArts competition.
Anish, who is doing advanced course work comprising third- and fourth-year computer science and second-year math at WPI, has earned several mathematics and International Science and Engineering Fair awards, and is the founder and chief executive officer of Kuduju LLC, a software development firm. In his scholarship nomination, Anish said his most influential teacher was Gilles Legault of the Math Department at Worcester Academy, where he was previously enrolled.
"Anish is a wonderful role model for other students," said Mass Academy director Michael G. Barney. "His love for learning and willingness to help others are qualities that we respect in a person. We are very proud of his accomplishments. This is a very special recognition, and well deserved."
About Mass Academy of Math and Science at WPI
The Mass Academy is a public, co-educational school of excellence program that enrolls about 100 academically accelerated 11th and 12th graders. Math and science are emphasized within a comprehensive, interactive academic program. The rigor of the junior year classes exceeds high school honors and AP, emphasizing depth over breadth, engaging students in project-based learning and more than 1,200 hours of instruction. Seniors complete a full year of college, enrolling in classes at WPI, a nationally-ranked university, thus making the academy the only public school in Massachusetts whose students attend a private university full time as seniors in high school. The academy is a collaborative effort among the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and the high schools of Massachusetts.