The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964, by executive order of the President, to recognize and honor some of our nation's most distinguished graduating high school seniors. In 1979, the program was extended to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative, and performing arts. In 2015, the program was again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields. Each year, up to 161 students are named as Presidential Scholars, one of the nation's highest honors for high school students. Five Ohio CTE students were selected by the ODE State Superintendent as semi-finalists for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program CTE category, and 20 finalists will be honored nationwide this Spring for their achievements and accomplishments in career-tech education.
Tara Sprandel is a senior at the Butler Tech Bioscience Center in the Project Lead the Way Biomedical Science program. She enjoys the various lab skills acquired in PLTW, such as ELISA testing, micro-pipetting, streaking bacteria, and gel electrophoresis. With a 3.89 GPA, Tara ranks in the top 6 percent of her class. By the end of her senior year, she will have earned over 25 college credits through Ohio’s College Credit Plus program. She plans to attend The Ohio State University as a Microbiology and Pre-Medicine major. Tara’s passion for studying human anatomy and the origin of disease inspires her to pursue a career in the medical field- specializing in oncology. For her senior capstone, Tara is researching a link between the popularity of processed foods and the origin of cancer. As a 2017 state competitor in the Healthy Lifestyle category of HOSA, Tara showcased the impact of nutrition. Aside from educational pursuits, she works 25+ hours a week at Panera Bread, serves as the President of the National Technical Honor Society, helps organize the Bioscience Center blood drive donations, and is a four-year starting pitcher of the varsity softball team at her home school, Colerain High School.
“Tara is a role model student,” said Danielle Mink, one of the Biomedical Science instructors who nominated Sprandel for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. “If you were to look for her at any moment during the day, you would find her actively engaged in her school work.”
Mid-East Career and Technology Center
Program: Dental Assisting
Instructor: Erica McCounoughy
Kami is the yearbook president and a five year member of the yearbook staff. She is also the local SkillsUSA vice president. Kami is a two year member of the varsity track team and a three year academic letterer. She has received multiple academic awards, along with receiving principal’s list honorees every quarter, and she has maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout her entire high school career.
Kami is a recipient of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Good Citizen award. She is an active member in her community, and she currently has over 50 hours of community service. Kami is currently enrolled in CCP College Algebra, CCP American National Government, and CCP College Composition I.
Kami is enrolled in the Dental Assisting program at Mid-East CTC, where she has earned her CPR/First Aid certifications, her dental radiography license and will sit for the CODA exam in the spring. When Kami is not in school she has two part-time jobs and she enjoys drawing and painting. After high school she plans to attend a four-year college to major in biology, then transfer to a physician’s assisting program to become a licensed physician’s assistant.
Sylvania Northview High School
Program: Aerospace Engineering
Instructor: Ryan Reed
Casey Ruckman is a senior at Sylvania Northview High School. He is currently enrolled in the Honors Aerospace Engineering and Honors Electrical Engineering program. He began his path as a leader early in his high school career. As a freshman, Casey was invited by the senior class to use his programming expertise to construct the NASA designed S4 Satellite launched from Black Rock Nevada in 2015. Casey’s device flew to an altitude of 14,421 feet and broke the sound barrier with a team-built student rocket. Over the past four years, Casey has been an integral part of the Northview Engineering program. He holds a National Stem title for the Texas Instruments and NASA Johnson “Search for Stemnauts.” His team consisted of 5 students who beat 1,100 teams nationwide. In 2016 and 2017 he led an elite team of his peers in the NASA Student Launch at Marshall Space Flight center in Alabama. His team elected to conduct research on human blood cell lysis, and to produce an inflatable recovery system. As shown in the picture, Casey is speaking to a NASA engineer about the computer he created used to autonomously control the rocket and send telemetry back to earth. This year he is leading another group of students by designing a system to visually track the altitude of a supersonic body. Casey is also a member of our Science Olympiad team and has won many regional awards.
Casey Ruckman currently holds a 4.24 GPA. After graduating in 2018, Casey hopes to attend MIT, The Ohio State University, or Case Western Reserve University to major in Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Electrical Engineering. When Casey is not busy with engineering he spends time giving back. He has logged over 300 volunteer hours and participated on a committee which helped National Honors Society raise over $19,000 to provide support for cancer patients in Northwest Ohio.
Instructor Ryan Reed said "Casey is a student you cross paths with once in a lifetime. He is truly a brilliant mind and I have been fortunate to assist with his education.”
Delaware Area Career Center
Program: Application Development and Programming
Instructor: Jeff Davidson
Moyesh was born in Jhapa, Nepal and came to the United States when he was 9. Before then he had never even seen a computer. Curious about the possibilities that existed beyond the computer screen, every weekend Moyesh would walk to the library to get access to the public computers. It was then his love for technology began.
Moyesh isn’t simply concerned about furthering his own future, though. He has been determined to give back to his community. For example, at age 13, even though English was a new language for him, he volunteered at a clinic in Philadelphia serving as a translator for patients with limited English proficiency. Moyesh’s suggestions and contributions to the App Development program have helped shape what it has become, and his legacy will continue within and beyond his experience at the career center. Moyesh plans to attend college after high school to pursue a degree in computer science. He sees every day as an opportunity and is committed to using his good fortune to change the world in a positive way.
Shawn Monahan Jr
Canton McKinley High School
Instructor: Chad Weaver and Bill Small
Shawn Monahan Jr. is in the Project Lead The Way Pre-Engineering Program.
As his Pre-Engineering instructor and nominator, Chad Weaver, said, “Shawn is an outstanding young man. He has a drive to learn that I have only seen in a few young people. Shawn is by far the brightest student I have ever encountered in 24 years of teaching.”
Aside from his exceptional classroom abilities, Shawn is a member of Concert and Jazz Bands, the Tennis Team, National Technical Honor Society, Technical CAMP Apprenticeship and Mentoring Program, and President of National Honor Society. He is also a section leader in the marching band, teaches middle school students how to be peer mediators, tutors fellow students, coaches youth tennis, volunteers for the school district and community, and is extremely active at his church.
Shawn’s achievements include being the McKinley representative for Buckeye Boys State, placing First in the Ohio Skills USA Regional Technical Math Competition, earning 4.0 Honor Roll every quarter for eight consecutive years, and receiving the Urban League Award, the Career Tech Department Student of the Year Award, the Presidential Academic Award, and multiple letters for academics, athletics, and activities.