2 from QCHS are Presidential Scholar candidates

Two Quakertown Community High School stu­dents have been select­ed as can­di­dates for the United States Presidential Scholars Program. The out­stand­ing seniors are Matt Catalano and Raymond Slifer, who also attends Upper Bucks County Technical School.

The two QCHS stu­dents are among more than 4,500 stu­dents invit­ed to apply for the pro­gram by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, which said the can­di­dates “rep­re­sent excel­lence in edu­ca­tion and the promise of great­ness in young peo­ple.” Each year, up to 161 stu­dents are named Presidential Scholars, one of the nation’s high­est hon­ors for high school stu­dents.

Of the invi­tees, 175 are from Pennsylvania. Matt and Raymond are among only 21 Bucks County stu­dents to receive an invi­ta­tion. They are the only two from Upper Bucks County. In addi­tion to Quakertown, Central Bucks, Council Rock, Neshaminy and New Hope-Solebury are the oth­er Bucks County dis­tricts to have stu­dents invit­ed. The George School and LaSalle College High School are also rep­re­sent­ed.

“This is both a very rare and extra­or­di­nary hon­or for these stu­dents, and I’m so proud of them,” Principal Mattias van’t Hoenderdaal said. “These accom­plish­ments don’t hap­pen by acci­dent. They have worked very hard to receive these invi­ta­tions, which are a tes­ta­ment to their efforts, and the out­stand­ing job our teach­ers are doing in the class­room. Matt and Raymond are devel­op­ing them­selves into respon­si­ble adults and will have won­der­ful oppor­tu­ni­ties in the future. They are fine exam­ples for our stu­dents to fol­low.”

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects schol­ars annu­al­ly based on their aca­d­e­m­ic suc­cess, artis­tic and tech­ni­cal excel­lence, essays, school eval­u­a­tions, and tran­scripts, as well as evi­dence of com­mu­ni­ty ser­vice, lead­er­ship, and demon­strat­ed com­mit­ment to high ideals.

In the fall, Matt was award­ed a Letter of Commendation for his excep­tion­al aca­d­e­m­ic promise from the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program. He is tak­ing five Advanced Placement class­es: U.S. Government, English Literature, Computer Science, Physics C and Statistics. A var­si­ty bas­ket­ball play­er, he is also pres­i­dent of the Key Club and National Honors Society and a mem­ber of Student Council. Matt is con­sid­er­ing major­ing in Finance and attend­ing MIT, Penn or Villanova.

The 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. That’s where Raymond excels. He is the first UBCTS Presidential Scholar can­di­date.

A Machining Technologies stu­dent, Raymond is a Cooperative Education stu­dent trainee employed by Bracalente Manufacturing Group in Trumbauersville. He is a tool room tech­ni­cian and has received all excel­lent eval­u­a­tions from his employ­er He has also excelled in the Machining Technologies Program, earn­ing the OSHA 10 Safety Certification and sev­er­al National Institute of Metal Working Skills Certifications. He was named a mem­ber of the National Technical Honor Society and has com­pet­ed and placed at SkillsUSA machin­ing com­pe­ti­tions at the dis­trict and state lev­els.

Raymond, an Eagle Scout, is a junior fire­fight­er with the Richlandtown Fire Co. He is enrolled in the UBCTS/Bucks County Community College Technical Entrepreneurship Program and will seek his associate’s degree upon grad­u­a­tion. He will then trans­fer to Pennsylvania College of Technology and major in Manufacturing Engineering.

“The Upper Bucks County Technical School com­mu­ni­ty could not be more proud of Raymond,” UBCTS Executive Director Jeff Sweda said. “This is a tremen­dous achieve­ment reserved for a select few stu­dents. Raymond exem­pli­fies what it means to be a career and tech­ni­cal edu­ca­tion stu­dent at the high­est lev­el and is well-deserving of this extra­or­di­nary oppor­tu­ni­ty.”

To be eli­gi­ble to advance in the Presidential Scholars Program, stu­dents must fill out an appli­ca­tion that includes essays, self-assessments, sec­ondary school reports and addi­tion­al doc­u­ments by February 24.