Presidential Scholarships would pay full tuition for four of Vermont’s best and brightest high school seniors accepted in mid-December as early-admission applicants to Saint Michael’s College.
The Presidential Scholarship is a special award reserved for Vermont's top students attending Saint Michael's College. Awards begin at a minimum of $13,000 and go up to full-tuition – as with all four of this year’s recipients. The Presidential Scholarship can be renewed each year for a maximum of four years of full-time enrollment in good standing. Though they have not made their college decisions yet, those offered full rides at St. Mike’s through the prestigious scholarships include:
Jeson Li, a National Honor Society officer, Student Senate member, cross country, skiing and tennis captain at Mount Anthony Union High School in Bennington. He also works part-time at The Pharmacy in Bennington, is president of Interact, Mount Anthony’s most active philanthropic community service group, and attended the Governor’s Institute of Vermont.
Jeson’s school counselor wrote in a recommendation, “Our country and the world need outstanding students like Jeson to guide us to a positive future. That is a big responsibility to wish on a student, but Jeson Li is the student I believe is best ready for that work: Jeson wrote in a college essay, “Whenever I overcome an issue, I become stronger. Adhering to goals and using achievements as motivation are the oil that has enabled and will continue to enable me to accomplish my American Dream.”
Brook Hodgeman is a National Honor Society officer at Bellows Free Academy in Saint Albans, as well as president of the Interact Club, and an active member of the soccer, ski and lacrosse teams. He successfully lobbied for passage of the 21st Century Cures Act to carry out the BRAIN initiative.
Writes Brook’s school counselor Preston Randall, “Brook is always positive and always open in his every interaction with students. I am confident that he has never uttered an unkind word about any other student or any teacher…Because of his generosity, others …understand key themes to Brook’s life: perseverance, kindness, openness, and athleticism. Brook embodies all of these qualities.”
Cailey Comiskey is this year’s valedictorian at Swanton’s Missisquoi Valley Union High School, as well as is captain of the cross-country team and outdoor and indoor track teams. She also is active with her schools Math League, Student Council, National Honor Society, and works part-time at the Tyler Place Family Resorts. Wrote her school counselor Chris Blackburn in a recommendation, “I have watched Cailey become the person she is today: driven, genuine and optimistic.” In her essay for Saint Michael’s, she wrote, “The campus life at my future school is something important to me … At Saint Michael’s College, I would love to explore all the extracurricular clubs and organizations because I want to seek out opportunities to expand my knowledge an make friends as well.”
A member of National Honor Society, winner of the George Eastman Young Leaders Award and a member of the soccer and alpine ski teams at Burr & Burton Academy in Londonderry, VT, Kristina Harmon joined a Guatemala service trip as a junior, is active in the Global Citizenship Club, volunteers at Rutland Regional Hospital, is a freshman mentor, works part-time at Glebe Mountain Gardens and attended Medquest Camp for future medical leaders. Her science teacher David Spero wrote in a recommendation, “…Kristina is a special young woman. Her high intellect, strong determination, sense of fairness, and level of maturity make her stand out among the many students I have taught at the high school and college level. In an essay for Saint Michael’s, she wrote that “It is a college that because of the community I know I will be able to flourish as an individual and learner, and a place where I can also come to be surrounded with passionate and skilled students.”
To be eligible for the Presidential Scholarship, students must be nominated by a Vermont high school and meet the following requirements: A- average or higher in a challenging college preparatory high school curriculum; Top 10% of graduating class; Combined 1800 SAT (three-section SAT taken prior to March 2016), 1300 SAT (two-section SAT taken after March 2016) or 27 ACT test scores or higher. In addition to SAT/ACT scores, GPA and curriculum, scholarship applicants are evaluated based on their leadership qualities, commitment to community service and potential to contribute to the Saint Michael's community.
Michael P. Stefanowicz ’09, director of admission for Saint Michael’s, said, “The Vermont Presidential Scholarship Committee expresses our strong gratitude to our school counseling colleagues in Vermont for nominating so many of Vermont’s strongest high school seniors for the College’s top merit scholarship. We were blown away by the strength of our nominees this year who are poised to engage deeply in our intellectual community and embody the value Saint Michael’s places on doing well and doing good.”