Kelly Fox ’08 Named Presidential Scholar Representing N.H.; Basketball Captain to Visit White House and Be Honored in June

Kelly Fox ’08 was named a Presidential Scholar of 2008 in an announcement made by U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings last Monday. Fox is one of 139 American high school seniors who were chosen for their “outstanding academic achievement, artistic excellence, leadership, citizenship and service to their schools and communities.” Fox said, “I think becoming a Presidential Scholar is one of the greatest honors that a high school senior can attain, and I think that this honor was made possible because of the excellent education that I received at this Academy.” She will be honored for her accomplishments in June, when she will join the other Presidential Scholars in Washington D.C. for a week of events, museum visits and award ceremonies. Fox will also meet President George W. Bush, who will honor each Presidential Scholar with a medal. Over 3,000 candidates qualified to be a Presidential Scholar this year, based on their performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams or by a nomination from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts for exceptional talent in the performing, literary, or visual arts. The candidates then submitted essays and other application materials, which narrowed the pool to ten to 20 semifinalists from each state. Finally, two Presidential Scholars, one male and one female, were selected from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico and from families of U.S. citizens living abroad. Fox, who was chosen to represent the state of New Hampshire, said her nomination was “unexpected.” “I did not think that I was going to become a Presidential Scholar when I knew that I was competing against so many outstanding candidates including several students from Exeter. I know that some of the semi-finalists were National Merit Scholars, national debating champions, tri-varsity athletes, and class presidents. Overall, I was just honored to be chosen,” continued Fox. Each Presidential Scholar was allowed to choose his or her most challenging and inspiring teacher to participate in the recognition events in June and to receive a Teacher Recognition Award from the U.S. Department of Education Fox selected David Stern, Instructor in Chemistry, who has taught at Phillips Academy since 2001. “I chose him because I really enjoyed him as a science teacher and his enthusiasm; he helped me realize I wanted to become a doctor,” explained Fox. Stern said, “I was happy for her and the fact that she was in the running, because it is a highly competitive program. I was honored that she had selected me, but even more surprised that I had made this impact on her.” “I remember her as an excellent, hardworking student,” continued Stern. “I have a pet peeve about writing lab reports because many students forget how to use proper grammar …But Kelly’s [lab reports] were always well-organized and focused.” Fox plans to study biology and chemistry next year at Brown University, working steadily toward her career goal to be family physician. Besides her interest in the sciences, Fox has fostered many other interests at Phillips Academy. She is the captain of the Varsity Girls basketball team and is an award-winning pianist. Stern said, “So many of our students excel in academics, but are also committed to other activities like sports and in community service. I admire that they can deal with all those things at once!” On average, about one Phillips Academy student is named a Presidential Scholar each year. Last year, Archana Rajender ’07 was recognized as a Scholar. Fox believes that her experience at PA has been rewarding, and not just in helping her receive this award. “The academic program at Phillips has been vigorous, but it’s worth it. As time went on, I got used to it, and I think it set me up well for college and for the challenges I will face later on,” said Fox.