Carmel student a 2024 U.S. Presidential Scholar


Joining a long tradition of Carmel High School graduates, Claire He, 18, has received the prestigious 2024 U.S. Presidential Scholar designation. She was notified May 9.

“It’s an absolute honor,” He said. “It feels so unbelievable being one of less than 200 seniors to be receiving this award. I’m in awe of the accomplishments and impact of so many of my fellow scholars. It’s a privilege to meet each of them; the work they’ve done in areas of research and advocacy has been so inspirational.”

The 161 2024 U.S. Presidential Scholars will be honored in a virtual celebration June 24. The program, established in 1964 by President Lyndon Johnson, recognizes high school seniors who excel in academics and extracurricular involvement.

Selected based on SAT or ACT scores, the initial list of students, notified in January, was given the opportunity to apply for the program. He said she was among 5,700 students in this round.

In addition to test scores, the application process asked for school records, extracurricular activities and a series of essay questions.

“There were four short essays and one slightly longer essay that essentially asked about topics of personal significance. I wrote about my love for baking being a means of family connection in response to the last essay question, for instance,” He said. “Beyond those, there was a ‘Most Influential Teacher’ response where I explained why I chose my teacher Mrs. Hargrove; I ended up sharing many of my favorite APUSH (Advanced Placement U.S. History) memories.”

He highlighted her volunteer work with the Carmel Clay Public Library and her love for writing and reading as her favorite nonacademic interests. She also plays the violin and loves to complete puzzles.

Enrolled at Columbia University in New York City for the upcoming fall semester, He plans to pursue the economics-philosophy joint major.

“I’m excited to see the intersections between the two fields of study as well as the complexities of a multidisciplinary approach. Aside from that, I hope to also pursue the study of linguistics in some form and take any writing-adjacent courses that catch my eye, if circumstances permit,” He said.

He is thankful for the many teachers, friends and mentors how helped her through the years – especially her family.

“My parents have never ceased to support me through all the trials of my academic and personal life, even when I haven’t been the most appreciative daughter,” He said. “And my sister — she was my first role model. It was her accomplishments and her hard work that introduced me to many of the opportunities I still pursue today; thanks to her, I discovered my passions for journalism, music, and scientific research.”

He counts Tim Phares among her greatest influences, as he has been her principal since she started at Towne Meadow Elementary school in second grade.