Malik Jabati ’15 has been named a U.S. Presidential Scholar, a highly selective honor given to top students by the U.S. Department of Education.
One male and one female scholar are chosen from each state, plus 15 additional at-large honorees and 20 arts scholars. Malik, who lives in Alexandria, Virginia, was named a Presidential Scholar from his home state, which had three scholars in total.
Malik learned in February that he had qualified to apply, based on his ACT scores; in mid-April, he was named among 16 semi-finalists for Virginia. Malik will be honored at a ceremony in Washington on June 21, and will spend a week attending events, meeting Virginia Congressmen, and, with luck and availability, possibly meeting President Obama.
“It’s a big honor,” Malik said. “I’m excited to get a chance to possibly meet the president and to meet my Congressmen.”
According to the Department of Education, the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, appointed by the president, selects scholars each year “based on their academic success, essays, school evaluations, and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.”
The application asked Malik to name the teacher who had influenced him the most; he named former Groton science teacher Tim Reed. “He was my advisor since Second Form, my thirds soccer coach, my chemistry teacher, an affiliate in my Second Form dorm—I had a lot of contact with him," Malik said, adding that Mr. Reed helped him develop a love for science.
Malik joins a very select group of young role models. “Presidential Scholars demonstrate the accomplishments that can be made when students challenge themselves, set the highest standards, and commit themselves to excellence,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a press release. “These scholars are poised to make their mark on our nation in every field imaginable: the arts and humanities, science and technology, law and medicine, business and finance, education and government—to name a few. Their academic and artistic achievements reflect a sense of purpose that we should seek to instill in all students...”
Malik plans to study computer science and political science at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he was named a Morehead-Cain Scholar, another recognition of his hard work and talent.