ISS student named Presidential Scholar

When Indian Springs School senior Carolyn Sim learned she was named a 2009 Presidential Scholar on Monday, she didn’t expect the international media attention that came along with the distinction.

“It’s really big news in Korea,” said Sim, whose family resides in Seoul, South Korea. “It’s the main title in the newspapers there.”

Sim, 18, is one of 141 high school seniors nationwide to receive the honor, which symbolizes outstanding academic achievement, artistic excellence, leadership, citizenship and community service. Sim is one of only two scholars whose families live abroad.

“My parents are really impressed and they’re really proud of me,” Sim said. “This is one of the biggest honors a high schooler can get. I’m really proud of myself, and I’m very excited.”

Sim and her peers will be honored for their achievements in June, and will have the opportunity to meet President Barack Obama and U.S. department secretaries. ISS English teacher Diane Sheppard will accompany Sim to the nation’s capital.

Sim said each Presidential Scholar may invite an inspiring and challenging teacher to travel to Washington, D.C. to receive a Teacher Recognition Award from the U.S. Department of Education.

“When there’s something I want to talk about, she’s usually the one I talk to,” Sim said of Sheppard. “She’s very excited about going to Washington and seeing the president.”

Sim was one of 3,000 students nationwide to qualify for the honor based on outstanding performance on the SAT and ACT exams. A 29-member Commission on Presidential Scholars appointed by Obama selected the scholars.

Sim, who aspires to become a medical doctor, will head to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this fall. She plans to study the application of physics to medicine.

“I hear a lot of stuff about how tough it is. I’m a little worried,” Sim said of MIT. “But I think I can do it.”