WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — High school seniors at two Palm Beach County public schools were recently honored as U.S. Presidential Scholars.
Miles Wang, a student at Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, along with Alexander Stone from West Boca Raton Community High School, were recognized for their outstanding scholastic achievement.
Kailey Worontsoff, who also studied at Dreyfoos School of the Arts, was named in the Arts category.
"Being a Presidential Scholar is a huge honor," Wang said. "Being with 160 of the nation's top young leaders is something I will certainly treasure."
Wang, who was the salutatorian of his graduating class, will study economics and applied mathematics at Harvard University in the fall.
"What drives me is to essentially explore the world and find out what I exactly want to do,'" Wang told WPTV on Friday. "I've been exposed to so many different perspectives, at Dreyfoos as a communications major, where I do debate and journalism. So I've really explored a lot of fields."
Wang thanked his teacher, Ms. Angela Anyzeski, for helping him throughout his four years at Dreyfoos.
"She's been really central to my growth, my development as a character, as a person, as a debater, and as a thinker," Wang said. "She’s helped me form my worldview and helped me think independently and just grow so much."
Anyzeski, the Communications Arts Dean and debate coach at Dreyfoos School of the Arts, called Wang one of the smartest people she has ever met. She said he strives to help others as well.
"As much as he works towards his own goals, he really supports his peers in pursuing theirs," Anyzeski said. "I think that says a lot about who he is as a person."
Worontsoff is a dancer. She will study at The Juilliard School with hopes of joining a dance company in a few years. She said balancing her love of dance and academics help her learn valuable lessons.
"A lot of time management, knowing when I have to focus more on my academics and when I need to focus on dance," Worontsoff said.
Worontsoff added that navigating school through a pandemic helped her and her classmates grow closer.
"COVID, as much as it was hard for us, it really brought us all together," Worontsoff said. "My class of seniors for dance, we've never been closer. I know we will also keep in contact and support each other through all of our other endeavors. So it's really nice to have that."
Heather Lescaille, director of dance at Dreyfoos, said Worontsoff is a fantastic dancer and is excited to see where her career takes her.
"She has an unmeasurable talent for the art of dance," Lescaille said. "She's also an outstanding young lady and a wonderful human being."
There are only 161 U.S. Presidential Scholars honored across the country each year, and having two from the same school is rare. Principal Blake Bennett said she was excited to celebrate the students’ achievements.
"You couldn't pick two more exceptional people than Miles and Kailey. On top of being incredibly smart, incredibly talented, they are two of the nicest, most compassionate, most empathetic, just wonderfully kind people you will ever meet," Bennett said.
Bennett said the entire staff at the school is proud of the accomplishments of Wang and Worontsoff.
Alexander Stone, the valedictorian at West Boca Raton Community High School, will attend Harvard University.
Wang, Worontsoff, and Stone will be recognized later this summer during an online program with the other Presidential Scholars.