By SCARLET SIMS
LOG CABIN STAFF WRITER
Sigan Chen still wore her name tag from her Future Business Leaders of America trip Wednesday afternoon.
Sigan is among the top students at Conway High School. At 16, she’s graduating this spring and may take a trip to Washington, D.C. as a U.S. Presidential scholar. She is a candidate for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, which is among the top awards given to high school students, according to a letter from the US. Department of Education.
“She is a remarkable student and person, and we know that she has a great future ahead of her,” high school principal Joel Linn said in email. “This type of recognition is a great reflection on her dedication to her studies and the hard work of the teachers in our school district.”
Conway has had other students named Presidential Scholars, said Charlotte Green, Gifted and Talented-Advanced Placement supervisor, in email. Three students went to D.C. in 2011, and two in 2012, she said.
“The program is designed to recognize the hard work of exceptional students,” Green wrote. “We have many students in the Conway School district who fit that description, and we are excited when others identify that talent in our students.”
On Monday night, Sigan received her letter saying she is a candidate.
“My mom, she thought it was really cool,” Sigan said. “My dad thought it was neat too. But I guess they weren’t that surprised because it is based on ACT scores.”
Sigan scored a 34 on the ACT, a college entrance exam where the highest score is 36. In 2011, she earned a 2400 SAT score — a perfect score — on another entrance exam.
She’s been to National History Day three times, she said. She placed second in a University of Central Arkansas piano competition, she was once third in a statewide math competition and she won honorable mention at the state Model United Nations event last November. She stays busy.
On Wednesday, after getting back from her FBLA trip, she said she won second place in economics at the district conference.
She likes math and history, she said. She likes to knit and crochet. Sometimes she teaches her friends how to say words in Chinese. She said she is interested in going to China as an intern.
“Sigan is an excellent student and a great person,” superintendent Greg Murry said in email.
Murry called Sigan “committed to learning” and said her recognition shows the “quality of work that is done each day by our teachers.”
Sigan said all of her teachers have helped her.
The Presidential Scholars recognition was established in 1964 and takes up to 141 students, according to a fact sheet. Sigan must submit essays and other documents by the end of the month, she said. A review committee then looks at academic achievement, personal characteristics, leadership and service activities and the quality and essays.
“The scholars represent excellence in education and the promise of greatness in young people,” according to a fact sheet.
As a scholar, Sigan gets the chance to go to Washington, D.C., for free and to meet national leaders, scientists, writers and artists who inspire her. She hopes to meet the President, she said. The White House sponsors a ceremony and awards scholars the Presidential Scholars Medallion.
“It’s just such a great honor (to be a scholar),” Sigan said. “I just never imagined I’d be one of those people.”