DoDEA Pacific Japan District student selected as 2016 U.S. Presidential Scholar
U.S. FLEET ACTIVITIES SASEBO, Japan — Yuuta Kendall from Department of Defense Education Activity’s E.J. King High School was recently selected as a 2016 U.S. Presidential Scholar.
Kendall will be honored for his accomplishment with 160 other American high school selected seniors in Washington D.C. June 19-21.
The 2016 U.S. Presidential Scholars are comprised of one young man and one young woman from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and from U.S. families living abroad, as well as 15 chosen at-large, 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts, and for the first time 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in Career and Technical Education.
The 17-year-old native of Sasebo, Japan said his father, Richard Kendall, and older brothers were the biggest influences in his life.
“My father taught me the importance of athletics in acquiring the competitiveness and people skills needed for academics,” said Kendall. “People skills, he stressed, was what would push me further in this world.”
Those words of wisdom helped Kendall participate in and win several academic and athletic events, attain several leadership positions, develop character in many volunteer-type activities and receive notoriety in newspaper articles and on Japanese TV. Some of the Sasebo native’s achievements include the 2014 and 2015 DoDEA Pacific Far East Tennis champion; 2016 DoDEA Japan District All Tournament Player; National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium Contestant; Presidents Gold Award for Academic Excellence; National Honor Society President and Senior Class Vice President.
Kendall’s parents Richard and Yuki were amazed at the selection pool and saw so many names of outstanding students in the United States and the international world. When they were notified of his selection said they “could not be more proud of our son.”
“Yuuta was very shy when he was younger, unable to go up on stage during piano concerts and hated big crowds,” said Yuki, a Sasebo, Japan native. “Yet, as he grew older and began having interests in so many different things, he was the type to try everything and set a goal for himself. He would never stop until he reached his goal.”
Richard added that Yuuta’s “number one characteristic is the fact that he is able to speak publicly and interact with people well. He has attended Model Congress Conferences in Asia, been to a National Science Competition in Washington DC, and been involved with athletic camps back home in California. In all of these conferences, he has made many friends in which he keeps in touch with even today and meets them occasionally wherever we go. His ability to speak in front of any age group or crowd has amazed me as he spoke at my son’s wedding and played the piano at a family wedding.”
Francine Locker, E. J. King HS English language arts teacher, said Kendall is determined to make a difference in the world and concerned with the needs of others locally and around the globe.
“He successfully involves himself in several school activities at once,” Locker said. “Mr. Kendall's ability to address the diversity of our student body: ethnic, academic, leisure pursuits, and financial, and racial has impressed teachers and administrators alike. He is the kind of leader that makes others feel included; he leads by example.”
In order to achieve the Presidential Scholars Program selection, Kendall said he would tell up-and-coming students to get involved outside the classroom, move up into positions with increased responsibility and push for success in everything.
“Your community will throw so many opportunities your way, and you might be overwhelmed at the amount of work you may have to do sometimes,” said Kendall, who committed to a U.S. Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Scholarship, hoping to serve as an Intelligence Officer. “Take up every opportunity you can to step up in expanding your horizons, making you more adept at a variety of things.”
Kendall’s ultimate goal is to “continue local community involvements but also branch out with the global literacy project, as this is my most significant contribution to the community that has given me everything.”
About the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program:
The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964, by executive order of the President, to recognize and honor some of our nation's most distinguished graduating high school seniors. In 1979, the program was extended to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative and performing arts. In 2015, the program was again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields. Each year, up to 161 students are named as Presidential Scholars, one of the nation's highest honors for high school students. For more information visit http://www2.ed.gov/programs/psp/index.html