Goeken named Presidential Scholar

Friday, May 2, 2008

U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spell-ings announced Thursday the selection of Nolan R. Goeken of Spencer, who attends Spencer High School in Spencer, as a 2008 Presidential Scholar.

Goeken is one of 139 outstanding American high school seniors who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievement, artistic excellence, leadership, citizenship, and service at school and in their community. The Presidential Scholars will be honored for their accomplishments in Washington, D.C., from June 21 to 24.

"The 2008 Presidential Scholars shine a bright hope on the future of our country," Spellings said. "Not only have these young graduates demonstrated exemplary discipline and achievement in academics and the arts, but they have also exhibited exceptional leadership and service to their local communities. Their commitment to excellence and contributions to society reflect the character and innovation necessary to keep America both competitive economically and collaborative in overcoming challenges within our global community."

Goeken, a scholar and athlete, captained the basketball and cross-country teams his senior year, earning conference and state awards, and currently captains the track team. He also plays football. He mentors his school's freshmen and is a DARE role model.

A participant in the Iowa Governor's Institute, Goeken's service activities include work with the YMCA as an AmeriCorps member, Habitat for Humanity and his church. With a perfect SAT score and a 4.0 GPA, Goeken has earned a full scholarship to Iowa State University, but also is considering Stanford, Harvard and Princeton. He will study biology, neuroscience and economics.

The 139 Presidential Scholars include 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 and 20 Presidential Scholars in the Arts. A 29-member Commission on Presidential Scholars appointed by President Bush selected the Scholars based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.

For the past 44 years, this prestigious program has honored over 5,000 of the nation's top-performing students. Of the 3 million students expected to graduate from high school this year, over 3,000 candidates qualified on the basis of outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, or by nomination through the nationwide youngARTS(tm) program conducted by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts.

The Presidential Scholars program was created in 1964 to honor academic achievement. It was expanded in 1979 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, literary and performing arts.

Since 1983, each Presidential Scholar has invited his or her most inspiring and challenging teacher to travel to Washington, D.C. to receive a Teacher Recognition Award from the U.S. Department of Education and to participate in the recognition events.

The teacher chosen for recognition by Goeken was Elli Wiemers of Spencer.

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