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SVHS senior named Presidential Scholar


Richland School District Two student Jenning Chen has been named a 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholar. Chen is a senior in Spring Valley High School’s challenging Discovery magnet program and one of four Richland Two students who made it to the semifinalist round of the competition. Richland Two had the most semifinalists of any school, public or private, in the state. The other semifinalists were: Hezekiah J. Branch, Ridge View High School; and Tanvi M. Mehta, Spring Valley High School.

 Branch was nominated based on his accomplishments in Career and Technical Education (CATE). He is enrolled in the BioHealth Sciences Magnet program at Ridge View High School. Branch has received full ride scholarships from several universities. He plans to major in Biomedical Engineering with a minor in Computer Science at Tufts University.

 Mehta is a 2017 National Merit Scholar. She is the 2016-17 HOSA Vice President and a 2017 Outstanding HOSA member. Mehta is a member of the Spring Valley Calculus Math team. Last year, she earned an 800, the highest possible score, on Math Level 2 on the SAT. Mehta was chair of 2016 Spring Valley’s Winter Days an annual school-wide project which raises thousands of dollars and collects food, toys, books clothing and other items to benefit community agencies.

Earning Presidential Scholar status is the latest in a long list of achievements for Chen, who is headed to MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) this fall. This time last year, Chen scored a 100 on the AP Calculus BC Exam. She was one of only 11 students in the world or just .009 percent of all 2016 test takers — and the ONLY female in the world to achieve this feat. She is also a remarkably balanced student who excels in photography and graphic design.
“Jenning’s academic achievements are certainly exceptional, but equally impressive are her focus, ambition and desire to help others using her natural gifts,” said Superintendent Dr. Debbie Hamm. “We could not be prouder of this young woman and look forward to the mark she will make on the world.”
Chen is one 161 students selected based on academic achievement and exceptional performance on the SAT or ACT according to a release from the U.S. Department of Education. Chen and her teacher, Dr. Michelle Wyatt, will receive an all-expense paid trip to the nation’s capital in June as part of the recognition program. She will receive a Presidential Scholars Medallion at a ceremony sponsored by the White House.
Past district scholars include E.A. Matthews, 2014 (Richland Northeast High School), Courtney Noh, 2013 (Spring Valley High School); and Afia Khan, 2012 (Spring Valley High School).