Senior awarded Presidential Scholarship

Paige Esterly, Author

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Palo Alto High School senior Hilda Huang will travel to Washington, D.C., in June to attend a National Recognition Weekend program after being named a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the arts.

This award can be won in one of two ways: either by achieving remarkable test scores or through tremendous accomplishments and talent in the realm of the arts. Although 121 out of the 140 winners are chosen through the academic path, Huang received the accolade through her dedication to music in the YoungArts program.

“I think it [the YoungArts program] is a very acceptable route [to the award] for those students who spend hours not at their desk but at a dance studio or on stage,” Huang said. “The YoungArts program in itself is very competitive.”

Huang feels that the journey leading up to her accomplishment has been just as fulfilling as the award itself.

“I think I really learned a lot about who I am and who I want to be just by having to contemplate and compose those six essays [required for the award], and for that I’m perhaps the most grateful,” she said.

Huang also looks forward to the opportunities for growth that this honor has presented her with.

“I’ll get to meet a lot of new friends and important members of the community which I’m sure will be even more of a humbling experience,” she said. “These are the kinds of experiences that are just impossible to get without the connections, and wary as I am of inside networking I must admit these are amazing and valuable opportunities that should be realized to their full potential.”

Although the award itself is impressive, Huang says that what matters is not the fancy title she can now put on her resume, but the doors it has opened up for her.

“Normally I am not at all attuned to the world of awards and titles and resumes bursting with fancy qualifications,” Huang said. “I do believe that the Presidential Scholars Program will open many opportunities for all of those involved.”