An 18-year-old Immaculata High School graduate who describes herself as fascinated by both the ways of the city and the ways of nature has been named a presidential scholar.
Christine A. Desan, 1620 29th St. NW, was one of 121 scholars selected on the basis of high college board scores and interviews with a presidential panel. She's considered one of the brightest high school graduates in the country.
Desan describes herself as influenced by two worlds - the rural area of Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., where she spends her summers, and her urban home of the District of Columbia.
In her essay for the Commission on Presidential Scholars she wrote, "Monuments mix with mountains, streetlights with stars; city and country have combined to form my education." And she told a reporter that the Audubon Naturalist Society attracted her as a member, partly because its hikes and bird-watching trips were a pleasant relief from the District.
Desan will attend Princetwon University this fall. But just as she likes both city and country, she likes all areas of study and does not look forward to choosing a major field of study.
She plans to take courses in many areas. At Immaculata, biology and Latin were the subjects that interested her most. Because she enjoyed both science and arts, she does not want to "narrow" herself, she said.
Desan's extracurricular activities include hockey, track and camping as well as her participation in the local Audubon Naturalist Society. She is working as a lifeguard this summer in Pennsylvania.
The Presidential Scholars Program began under President Johnson as a means of recognizing outstanding high school graduates. Scholars receive a medallion, but no monetary award.
Candidates were selected first from college board scores, and the finalists were chosen after interviews by a presidential panel. The scholars "had to measure up in terms of total personality, with outside activies and exposure to the arts and humanities as well as science," said Edith Roth, a spokesperson for the U.S. Office of Education, which runs the program.
Two other area youth were chosen as presidential scholars. They are Steven C. Reber, 17, of Rockville, and Stephen L. Hayes, 18, of Prince George's County.