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Two Amherst CHS Seniors Nominated for U.S. Presidential Scholars Program

Student stands by plane Two Amherst Central High School students have been nominated for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students.


Emma Klein, a general component nominee, and Alexander Jorgensen, a career and technical education nominee, were selected based on recommendations to the State Education Department from the office of New York State Assemblymember Karen McMahon.


Amherst Central is the only school district in WNY and the only district to have two students represented. Statewide, there were 25 students nominated; 20 in the general component area and five in the CTE component.


The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects honored scholars annually 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.


The U.S. Department of Education will issue invitations to nominees in January. Semifinalists will be notified in mid-April and Scholars will be notified in May. Students chosen as U.S. Presidential Scholars receive a U.S. Presidential Scholars medallion.


Student photo Emma is ranked second in her class of 212 seniors. She is a talented athlete who has earned local and state recognition as a soccer player and will play collegiate soccer for Syracuse University.


She has been on four varsity athletic teams since eighth grade; soccer, basketball, track and lacrosse. She also plays on the WNY Flash Elite Clubs National League Soccer Team.


This soccer season at ACHS, she was named 1st Team All State (NY) Class A, All WNY 1st Team, 1st Team All ECIC II and Team MVP.


Her advice to other students is to take advantage of every opportunity and push yourself to be the best and most well-rounded student that you can be.


"When it comes to education, I would urge students to take advantage of every opportunity they are afforded during their high school years - even if it means being a bit uncomfortable," she said. "I would urge them to take the extra class they are interested in, join a new club, or participate in a sport that they have never played. Get involved!  Education is more than just sitting in a classroom and learning about required topics. It is about finding your interest, grabbing it, and growing with it."


At school she is a member of the Captain’s Club and the clarinet choir. She has earned all county and all state honors for clarinet. She is a member of the National Honor Society and is taking a courseload of six Advanced Placement classes. She is a member of the Pathfinders mentor group at school. Outside of school she is a youth basketball camp counselor and a church greeter.


She is an AP Scholar with Distinction, a recipient of the Harvard Book Award for the top all around student in the school and recognized for her outstanding achievements in College Pre-Calculus Honors.


“After learning of Emma’s excellence in the classroom and her commitment and leadership as a student-athlete, I knew she was an ideal candidate for the Presidential Scholars program,” said Assemblymember Karen M. McMahon. “Her family, teachers, and coaches are extremely proud of her accomplishments, and I look forward to her future success.”


Alexander’s interest in aviation led him to enroll in the Aviation Technology program at Erie 1 BOCES Harkness Career and Technical Center. He plans to attend Embry Riddle Aeronautical University to major in Aeronautical Science with flight incorporated. He will earn a bachelor’s degree as well as a certification up to certified flight instructor. He would like to work for a major airline.


A career and technical education program that allows him to talk about airplanes and aviation for two hours of his school day is the most appealing thing. The aviation technology class has always helped me do what I wanted and it also better prepares me for college.


Outside of school he is involved in Civil Air Patrol (CAP), is working on his student pilot license, works part time at a pizza place and helps out in an acupuncture office. He is doing some independent work studying for aviation to pass some of the written exams given to pilots that are training.


In school he is involved with PIT and Sinfonia Orchestra playing trumpet and violin; also serving as assistant to the director. He was involved in the Spanish Club and participated in the Costa Rica service trip his freshman year. “It was a life changing experience,” he said. “I had a really enjoyable time exploring a different culture as well as helping the local school kids rebuild the school.”


He is a member of the National Honor Society and earned the Triple C award at ACHS. Through Erie 1 BOCES, he was named to the National Technical Honor Society and student of the month.


“My advice to others regarding their education is do not let anything take your dreams away,” he said. “I thought that being a pilot was going to be too hard but I decided to buckle down and focus on my school and academics so I could achieve my dreams. Dreaming is motivation and use it to your advantage. Nothing is ever too hard, you just might have to work harder because if you are not doing what you love then you won't enjoy life as much.”


“Alexander Jorgensen of Amherst Central High School knew early on that he wanted to pursue a career in aviation, which is why he chose an education path in the CTE program,” said Assemblymember Karen M. McMahon. “I am delighted that Interim Commissioner Betty A. Rosa recognized both his excellence in the classroom and his leadership skills, by nominating him for the 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. I am proud of his accomplishments and look forward to tracking his future successes.”