Briarcliff Students Selected As Presidential Scholar Candidates

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Pictured (from left) are Briarcliff High School Principal Debra French, guidance counselor Nathan Heltzel, Suzannah Bergstein, Ellie Underwood, Caterina Florissi and guidance counselor Meredith Safer. Photo Credit: Courtesy Briarcliff Manor School District

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. -- Three Briarcliff High School seniors have been selected as candidates for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. 

Suzannah Bergstein, Caterina Florissi and Ellie Underwood have been selected for the U.S. Department of Education program that recognizes students who represent "excellence in education and exemplify the promise of greatness." More than 3,000 candidates are annually identified for the academic component of the program, all of whom must score exceptionally well on the SAT or ACT.

Suzannah, who is considering a major in neuroscience, will be attending Duke University in the fall. Ellie would like to major in an area of science and will be attending Harvard University. Caterina, who has not yet made her college decision, is considering a career in pediatrics. Briarcliff High School guidance counselors Nathan Heltzel and Meredith Safer will assist the three candidates as they move forward in the program.

About 20 young men and 20 young women are selected, by invitation only, from each state. In order to reach the next selection level, students must submit specific materials for review, including essays, self-assessments, school reports and transcripts. About 560 students are named semifinalists. In April, these students are re-evaluated and 121 Presidential Scholars are selected by the U.S. Presidential Scholars Commission, a group of eminent private citizens appointed by the President to select and honor these scholars.

All scholars are honored in June at a national recognition program held in Washington, D.C. The students are awarded Presidential Scholar medallions in a ceremony sponsored by the White House.

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