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Nov 27, 2018 1:30 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Two East Hampton High School Seniors Nominated For Presidential Scholars Program

Julia Petersen, bilingual school counselor, Tamara Espinosa, Jaedon Glasstein, Lynne Brown, school counseling department coordinator, and Adam Fine school principal.  COURTESY JULIA PETERSEN
Nov 27, 2018 2:52 PM

Two East Hampton High School seniors were nominated for a prestigious nationwide award that could send them to the White House as finalists in June.

Jaedon Glasstein and Tamara Espinosa have been nominated for the Presidential Scholars Program, which honors high school seniors nationally on the basis of scholarship, community service, leadership and character.

The Presidential Scholars Program was established by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Every year, as many as 161 students from throughout the country—121 for academics, 20 for arts and, since 2015, 20 for career and technical education—are named as Presidential Scholars, one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students. In January, State Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia will narrow down the candidates and nominate 20 high school seniors, 10 females and 10 males, from throughout New York State.

Jaedon and Tamara received recommendations from Principal Adam Fine, guidance counselors Lynne Brown and Julia Petersen, and State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. to represent the 1st Assembly District of New York, which includes East Hampton, Shelter Island, Southampton and portions of Brookhaven and Suffolk County.

Jaedon is in the top 10 percent of his graduating class with an overall average of 99, Ms. Brown said. He’s taken 10 Advanced Placement courses and has won several awards, including the gold award for English 11 and for Advanced Placement computer science. “He’s very involved,” Ms. Brown said.

Jaedon is also an all county doubles tennis player and attends Ross School tennis academy after school.

“He’s a hard worker,” Ms. Brown said.

During the summer, Jaedon wakes up at 4:30 a.m. to work a five- and sometimes six-day week at the South Fork Country Club, according to Ms. Brown. In addition, he volunteers every Sunday at the Ladies Village Improvement Society’s furniture barn, where he helps around the shop and moves furniture.

“He’s got a lot to contribute, and a wonderful personality, too,” Ms. Brown said.

According to Ms. Brown, Jaedon’s dream job is to work as a software developer, and he hopes to study computer engineering in college.

“Jaedon is an outstanding scholar—he’s dedicated and passionate,” she said. “He was the perfect candidate for this prestigious award.”

Tamara was selected for the Career and Technical Education Program. She is in her second year of the aviation program at BOCES. BOCES—which stands for Boards of Cooperative Educational Services—is a public organization that provides shared educational programs and services to school districts; for example, mechanic, aviation and other technical programs.

“She moved here from Ecuador in October of her freshman year,” Ms. Petersen said on Monday. “She’s come a long way.”

The BOCES aviation program is one of the most competitive BOCES programs, Ms. Petersen said.

Tamara goes to the Suffolk Aviation Program every day for a half day. “Tamara has even flown a plane before,” Ms. Petersen boasted.

In addition, Tamara is a member of Skills USA, which is the BOCES version of the honor roll.

“They stand out as having academic success, leadership qualities, community involvement and extraordinary personal achievements,” Mr. Thiele said in a press release. “I am proud to represent such fine students in the 1st Assembly District and wish them the best of luck as the nomination process continues.”

According to the U.S. Department of Education, in 2018, of the 3.6 million high school students expected to graduate, 5,200 candidates qualified for the awards.

The students chosen as Presidential Scholar Finalists will receive an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., in June and will be presented with the Presidential Scholars medallion at a ceremony sponsored by the White House.

For more information about the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program and the Commission on Presidential Scholars visit www.ed.gov/psp.

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