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GSSM Senior Named Semifinalist in U.S. 2017 Presidential Scholars Program

May 9, 2017

The South Carolina Governor’s School for Science & Mathematics (GSSM) is pleased to announce that graduating senior, Isaiah J. Ho, has been named a semifinalist in the U.S. Presidential Scholarship Program.

Ho, son of Wing M. Lau and Dr. Chi M. Ho of Simpsonville, South Carolina, transferred to GSSM from Southside High School.  

Ho is a National Merit Finalist, AP Scholar with Distinction, and SC Palmetto Fellow. At GSSM, he is a Natural Helper, president of Tech Talk, captain of the First Tech Challenge robotics team, and IT specialist.

In the summer of 2016, he conducted research on the application of deep learning to autonomous driving at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research, and received a second place for his written research in the SC Junior Academy of Science.

He received a superior rating in piano in the National Federation of Music Clubs Festival for six consecutive years. He was a violinist in the Greenville County Youth Orchestra, the 2015 SC Regional Orchestra, and the Heritage Bible Church Orchestra.

“It is an honor to be selected as a US Presidential Scholar semifinalist. I wish everyone else the best of luck as we move forward,” Ho said.

Application to the U.S. Presidential Scholars program is by invitation only based on scores on the SAT or ACT exam, or their nomination by a chief state school officer the year of their graduation from high school.

U.S. Presidential Scholars receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., in June 2017, and the U.S. Presidential Scholars medallion at a ceremony sponsored by the White House, in commemoration of their achievements. During their visit to D.C., scholars have access to important national and international figures. Scholars are provided opportunities to wrestle with issues that concern America and the world, attend recitals, receptions and ceremonies held in their honor, and visit area museums and monuments.

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964, by executive order of the President, to recognize and honor some of our nation's most distinguished graduating high school seniors. In 1979, the program was extended to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative and performing arts. In 2015, the program was again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields. Each year, up to 161 students are named as Presidential Scholars, one of the nation's highest honors for high school students. Scholars will be announced in May.

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