Independence High Senior Named US Presidential Scholar

Independence High senior Nate Martinez
  • Published May 16, 2023

    An Independence High senior is one of just two students in Tennessee to be named a 2023 US Presidential Scholar. Only 161 students in the nation earned this honor.

    Nate Martinez was selected from more than 5,000 candidates across the country. US Presidential Scholars are comprised of one male and one female student from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico and US families living abroad. Fifteen additional students are chosen at-large, as well as 20 scholars in the arts and 20 scholars in career and technical education.

    "Words cannot describe Nate's academic talent, preparation and motivation," said IHS teacher Chris Manor. "He is an incredible student. He continually embraces any academic challenge and is always prepared to rise to any occasion."

    Presidential Scholars are selected based on academic success, artistic and technical excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as a commitment to community service and leadership.

    "Nate is an exceptional student in every way," said IHS teacher Donna Henderson. "He is not only very intelligent but also polite, kind and well-rounded. He manages his own learning in a mature way that allows him to achieve a tremendous amount of learning in a very efficient and productive manner. He is a leader and an example to his peers in both the classroom and on the sports field."

    As part of his application, Nate nominated IHS teacher Luke Finley for the Distinguished Teacher honor.

    "I told everyone at Nate's signing for MIT that, in 17 years of coaching at Indy, I've had guys who were incredible students, guys who were incredible athletes and guys who were incredible leaders," Finley said. "But no one I have coached here has been a better student-athlete-leader than Nate. He is the standard from which future student-athlete-leaders will be measured."

    Nate and the other US Presidential Scholars will be recognized for their achievements at an online recognition program this summer.

    "There are approximately 250,000 high school seniors in Tennessee," said IHS teacher Deborah Bohn. "But it's no surprise that Nate was one of only two seniors selected for this tremendous honor. He puts total effort into everything he undertakes."

    Several other WCS students were recognized by the US Presidential Scholars Program. Sharada Ghantasala of Ravenwood High was named a semifinalist, and more than two dozen students were candidates for the award. The initial candidates are listed below:

    • Audrey Aulino, Brentwood High
    • Bryson Boone, Page High
    • Lana Cartailler, Ravenwood High
    • Ann Dickerson, Ravenwood High
    • Nathan Dinoia, Franklin High
    • Josef Dosch, Page High
    • William Flanigan, Nolensville High
    • Raymond Gardocki, Brentwood High
    • Ava Gordon, Independence High
    • Grace Gstell, Ravenwood High
    • Sagar Gupta, Ravenwood High
    • Angela Huo, Brentwood High
    • Audrey Kauppila, Ravenwood High
    • Joshua Liu, Ravenwood High
    • Pharris Livingston, Page High
    • Joshua Murray, Franklin High
    • Grace Park, Ravenwood High
    • Jack Parker, Franklin High
    • Nihar Sanku, Brentwood High
    • Dalton Shults, Independence High
    • Siddharth Singh, Ravenwood High
    • Eugene Smalley, Page High
    • Zachary Villaruz, Brentwood High
    • Jason Wang, Brentwood High
    • Hannah Wimpy, Franklin High
    • Kaitlyn Wojtak, Ravenwood High