Amrit Hingorani traveled to Washington D.C. to receive honor
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Talk about a great graduation present! Amrit Hingorani, a Bay Ridge resident who recently graduated from Stuyvesant High School, made a trip to Washington, D.C., but he wasn’t there just to see the Lincoln Memorial.
Hingorani had the honor of being named a U.S. Presidential Scholar, a coveted title that earned him a medallion, a meeting with U.S. Secretary of Education John King and tons of respect from his peers.
“It’s really an honor to be recognized,” he told the Brooklyn Eagle when he got back to Brooklyn from his whirlwind trip to the nation’s capital, which took place June 19-21.
Hingorani is one of 160 young people from around the country who demonstrated outstanding academic achievements, artistic excellence, leadership skills, citizenship, service and contributions to their schools and communities.
Hingorani and his fellow presidential scholars were chosen from 5,600 candidates who applied this year.
“This year’s class of presidential scholars continues a more than 50 year trend of honoring students who’ve shown excellence in their educational, artistic and civic pursuits,” King said in a statement.
King, incidentally, hails from Brooklyn and attended Mark Twain Intermediate School for the Gifted and Talented, the same school Hingorani attended prior to Stuyvesant High School.
Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored nearly 7,000 of the country’s top-performing students with the prestigious award given to winners during an annual ceremony in D.C. The program was expanded in 1979 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, literary and performing arts. In 2015, the program was expanded again to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields.
The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, appointed by President Barack Obama, selected 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.
“They looked at SAT and ACT scores and they looked at your extra-curricular activities and community service record,” Hingorani said.
The panel had plenty to look at when it came to Hingorani. At Stuyvesant High School, he was a member of several service organizations, including the Key Club and Arista and took part in a Science Olympiad. He also visited Trinidad as a volunteer to help doctors set up a clinic. He thoroughly enjoyed the trip. “Our goal was to help 1,000 patients. We got there, helped set up the clinic and helped with the charts,” he said.
The U.S. Presidential Scholars are comprised of 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 35 recipients who are chosen at-large for achievements in the arts and technology.
During his stay in Washington, Hingorani enjoyed a dinner reception, watched a stage show put on by presidential scholars in the arts, received his medallion and took part in group discussions with King and other education leaders.
“We got to tell him what we thought of the education system and what changes we would make,” he told the Eagle.
The scholars told King they wanted to see schools across the country provide more courses in technology for students who do not plan to attend college. “Some kids want to get jobs right out of high school. We should find a way to help them do that,” Hingorani said.
He also took part in a citizenship panel.”We talked about what citizenship means to us,” he said, adding that he got the feeling the education officials expected big things from the presidential scholars. “They are looking to us to lead in the future,” he said.
The best part of the trip, he said, was spending time with his peers. “It was great meeting the other presidential scholars,” he said.
Hingorani, who attended P.S. 104 in Bay Ridge when he was young, played soccer for many years in the 68th Precinct Youth Council.
He will be attending Cornell University in the fall, where he plans to major in biological sciences.