Two Idaho Students Named Presidential Scholars

May 10, 2013

J. Regan Bell, Presidential Scholar

This week the U.S. Department of Education released its annual list of Presidential Scholars. The award honors the highest achieving high school seniors in each state. Idaho’s 2013 Presidential Scholars are Josephine Minick of Centennial High School and Joseph Regan Bell of Boise’s Riverstone International School.

You have to get one of the highest scores in your state on the SAT or ACT exams to get an invitation to apply to be a Presidential Scholar. Then you submit a packet of information including essays to show you’re not just smart, but outstanding. Regan Bell says maybe his love of computer programing made him stand out. He taught an after school class at his own school on designing iPhone apps and has taught basic computer programing to elementary schoolers including refugee kids.

“There’s just an intuitive sense I think that people my age and people younger than me especially have,” Bell says. “Some of these elementary kids can just jump right into computer programing.”

Bell says going to Riverstone gave him an advantage toward becoming one of the 141 presidential scholars out of the nation’s approximately 3 million high school seniors. But he says not because it’s a private school.

“But the fact that it’s such a small school, has given me access to my professors and access to administrators. And they’ve really helped me with being able to do things like starting that class after school,” he says. “Something like that, I never could have done if I didn’t have such close interaction with them.”    

Bell will go to Washington DC for the presidential awards ceremony next month. Next fall he’s bound for Harvard where he plans to study computer science.

Copyright 2013 Boise State Public Radio