Senior named Presidential Scholar, one of 160 in U.S.

Senior Kate LeBlanc was named a Presidential Scholar this year.

Kate LeBlanc is one of only two students in Oregon to be awarded the title of Presidential Scholar for the year of 2017.

The Presidential Scholar program is run by the Department of State. Every year, each state’s highest academically achieving students are eligible to participate in the selection process. Students can also be nominated by the Department of Education.

“The people who get chosen for these types of things are all super amazing, super brilliant, super smart students,” says LeBlanc who was surprised to be among the winners
In the end, 161 high school seniors nationwide are selected annually. A gathering of the winners takes place in Washington, D.C., in June.

“All the presidential scholars get together to talk about it and share [their] experiences and you get to meet the President,” says LeBlanc.

Going into the application process, LeBlanc didn’t think she had a chance to win.“I just put [the application] in as like a fluke because I had already written a lot of the essays for college,” she says. “I wasn’t expecting to win.”

However, LeBlanc isn’t the first in her family to receive this prestigious award. Her mom was a presidential scholar way back when in Nevada.”

The application process involves submitting transcripts, essays, and letters of recommendation. LeBlanc was not alone in this process. “My mom helped me a lot and then Ms. (Hanasi) Accetta did all my letters of recommendation,” she explains.

Lincoln has an impressive track record when it comes to Presidential Scholars. Over the past three years, LeBlanc is the third Lincoln student to be selected after Andrew Trattner in 2014 and Alexander Zhang in 2016.

LeBlanc is an outstanding student at Lincoln. She is a valedictorian, as well as co-captain of the Speech and Debate team and president of Vivace, Lincoln’s student run a-cappella group. She has also spent her summers researching neuroscience at OHSU and the VA Medical Center. Next year, she will attend Stanford University, where she plans to study psychology and biology.