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Carmel Valley School Produces Two Presidential Scholars

This year, 10 California students were awarded the U.S. Presidential Scholarship. It is the U.S. Department of Education’s top honor for high school seniors. Anne Liu and Michael Chen are graduating seniors at Canyon Crest Academy in San Diego’s Carmel Valley. Out of 161, students Liu and Chen are the only 2019 Presidential Scholars from San Diego.

KPBS anchor Ebone Monet spoke to Anne Liu and Michael Chen about the honor and their future plans.

Q: How do you feel about being selected as a Presidential Scholar?

Anne Liu: Well it's a huge honor for me. I was very excited when I found out about it. But at the same time, I'm very proud to represent Canyon Crest Academy as a Presidential Scholar in the arts from my school.

Q: Do you recognize the pressure some students are under to receive good grades?

Michael Chen: Yeah I definitely feel I do. Along with my friends and other students, there is especially in my school a growing pressure on students. Like the mindset of my friends and other students, they're all focused on college or they take classes that they don't like just to get into some colleges because they think the colleges might like to see them. So it is very like, a focus on college and it kind of does take away, like when you're trying to have a social life.

Anne Liu: We go to Canyon Crest Academy and it's ranked number one in town and in the state of California. So, of course, the pressure is huge and a lot of the kids, they're very, very stressed. And I think right now, society has focused more on the honor ... many ways the honor of getting into a good college, the honor of, you know, as an artist being on stage. And I think the solution for that is we should direct our focus away from the honor of achievement instead, the fruit of knowledge that we receive through that achievement.

Q: What do you hope to achieve as a presidential scholar?

Anne Liu: I hope, as president for scholars, that we will influence the future students to work harder, but not to work themselves to death ... I truly love music, that is what I'm passionate about.

Q. How do you feel about their upcoming trip to visit the White House?

Anne Liu: I'm really looking forward to it. I've been to D.C. twice before. It was for another scholarship thing but this time it's going to be more relaxed and I'm just going to have fun.

Michael Chen: Yeah, definitely excited to go to the White House and visit some of the nation's most important figures as well. I think we've got some previous scholars and we've got to talk to them about their experience and how the award influenced their future. So I'm definitely looking forward to meeting prestigious people behind this award and going to the White House.

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