Blacksburg student named 2016 U.S. Presidential Scholar

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) A Blacksburg student has been named a Presidential Scholar by U.S. Secretary of Education John King.

Genty Daku is at home this week. A senior at Blacksburg High School, he's done with classes for the year, and is waiting to graduate on May 20.

But there's another honor he was been waiting on: 2016 U.S. Presidential Scholar.

He first applied in January based on his SAT scores, which were perfect in both math and reading, with an overall score of 2390.

"I got a recommendation from my guidance counselor and I had to write six essays," Daku said of his application. "They essays were about the impact I had on my community, my beliefs, there was an argumentative essay that I wrote about, things of that nature."

He also wrote about a foundation he founded, the Albania Future Foundation, where he teaches English overseas in Albania where his parents are from.

Daku's transcript was also submitted in his application which showed a 4.5-4.6 GPA, according to graduating senior.

He was named a semi-finalist and on May 4 got the good news.

He described finding out saying, "My dad was the first person to notify me because he had saw the list online so I was in Mr. Mattox's AP Government class, but it was really exciting for me and I honestly didn't even think I would get it but it's pretty cool."

He went onto say, " It feels good, but you know I've just worked hard and I've had support from my parents and everyone at the school and I've just done the best I could have given and you can't ask more of anyone."

He joins 159 other students across the country, and only two others in Virginia, with this distinction

The U.S. Department of Education said in a release, "The 2016 U.S. Presidential Scholars are compromised of one young man and one young woman from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and from U.S. families living abroad, as well as 15 chosen at-large, 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts, and for the first time 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in Career and Technical Education."

Now Genty will travel to Washington D.C. on June 19 to be recognized for this honor and possibly meet President Obama.

I'm pretty excited for it," he said of possibly meeting the President. "It's not promised but previous years have and I'm really looking forward to that, so fingers crossed."

While this honor is a culmination of lots of hard work for Daku, he prefers to stay humble about it all. He thanks his education at Blacksburg High School for helping to get him this prestigious award.

"I've loved school, Blacksburg High School is a great community," he said. "I had a lot of support from my teachers, guidance counselor, Mr. Kitts the principal, and of course my friends and I've enjoyed every moment of it."

The Department of Education said about the history of the Presidential Scholar award, "Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored almost 7,000 of the nation's top-performing students with the prestigious award given to honorees during the annual ceremony in D.C. The program was expanded in 1979 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, literary and performing arts. In 2015, the program was again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishments in career and technical education fields.

"Since 1983, each Presidential Scholar has been offered the opportunity to name his or her most influential teacher. Each distinguished teacher is honored with a personal letter from the Secretary of Education."

Daku chose his Junior and Senior year Calculus teacher Matthew Beeken of Blacksburg High School to be recognized as the teacher that had the greatest impact on him.

Daku will attend Harvard University starting in the Fall.

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