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D7’s Jacob Price Named U.S. Presidential Scholar

Jacob PriceWith a stellar academic record at Spartanburg High and a resume of accolades spanning multiple arenas from the classroom to the swimming pool, Jacob Price can now also claim the distinction of being named a 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholar. The award is the highest honor bestowed upon a graduating high school senior and comes from the nation’s most prestigious scholars’ program. Jacob is one of two South Carolina students chosen for the award. He was among 14 semifinalists in South Carolina and the only candidate from Spartanburg.  Nearly 6,500 of our nation’s 3.7 million seniors were considered for the award.

Announcement of the 57th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars came today from U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona, recognizing 161 high school seniors for accomplishments in academics, the arts, and career and technical education fields. "The 2021 Presidential Scholars represent extraordinary achievements for our extraordinary times," said Cardona. "I am delighted to join President Biden in saluting these outstanding young people for their achievements, service, character and continued pursuit of excellence. Their examples make me proud and hopeful about the future. Honoring them can remind us all of the great potential in each new generation and renew our commitment to helping them achieve their dreams." 

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic and technical excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals. Each year U.S. Presidential Scholars are comprised of one young man and one young woman from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. 

A fellow classmate describes Jacob as reliable, driven, and humorous – clearly traits that have helped him succeed inside and outside of school. Dr. Vance Jones, Principal of Spartanburg High School, says the U.S. Presidential Scholars Office made an excellent choice in selecting Jacob to represent the state of South Carolina. “Jacob is the very definition of an all-around student. He is a swimmer, he boosts school spirit as one of our bleacher creatures, he sings in the chorus, and is an outstanding academic scholar. He embodies all of the ideals of a Spartanburg High School student. In addition to putting in the many hours of studying that led him to graduate among the top five in his class, he has continually made time for his friends and to take advantage of all that SHS has to offer. We are extremely proud to call Jacob Price a Spartanburg High School Viking!” 

With acceptance letters and scholarship offers from dozens of the most notable colleges and universities in the nation – Arizona State University, Carnegie Mellon, Davidson College, Duke University, Clemson University, University of Texas, and Vassar College – Jacob is undecided where he will attend college or his major. He is sure, however, of his desire to make a positive impact on the Earth and the people who inhabit it. Jacob remains passionate about creating a more sustainable world that future generations can enjoy. 

Jacob will be officially recognized for his outstanding achievement in Washington, D.C. this summer.

Spartanburg High School has a long legacy of Presidential Scholar semifinalists and finalists. In 2009, it celebrated unprecedented success when both of South Carolina’s Presidential Scholars were SHS students: Bonnie Antosh and Drew Henderson. 

Note: At this writing Jacob was undecided about his college pick, he will attend Duke University in the fall. 


jacob price and shs administrators

It's a huge deal for our school:' Spartanburg High senior earns rare national honor

by Samantha Swann for the Herald-Journal

Teachers at Spartanburg High always knew senior Jacob Price had a bright future ahead of him. Now, he has the title to prove it. Price, 18, was recently named a 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholar.

"I got an email at like nine o'clock in the morning, and I was really surprised when I got that email and really honored to be named with such an impressive group of individuals," Price said. "I was immediately grateful for everything that my parents, teachers, administrators and classmates have done for me. I really couldn't have asked for a more supportive group of people during my time at District Seven."

Price was among 14 semifinalists for the honor in South Carolina and was the only candidate from Spartanburg. He's the first Spartanburg High student to be chosen since the school took both South Carolina spots in 2009 when Bonnie Antosh and Drew Henderson were honored.

"It's a huge deal for our school. We haven't had one in several years here at the school, so for Jacob to bring that back to the forefront is a great honor for Spartanburg High School, but also a testament to what the teachers in District Seven have done throughout his career here to prepare him or help him achieve this recognition," said Principal Vance Jones. "We're very proud of Jacob and looking forward to hearing all the great things that he does down the road."

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars chooses two students from each state for the honor based on their academic success, including artistic and technical excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, community service and leadership.

Price was a member of the swim team from grades 7-12, lettering for five, participated in the school's chorus and was a member of the Envirothon team, where students study environmental topics.

"(Envirothon) was one of my favorite extracurriculars. In tenth grade, we placed second in the state and a couple of days ago, we placed first," Price said.

Price ranked third in his graduating class, but he says his focus during school wasn't on class rank or grades but enjoying learning. He said the key to balancing his athletic, academic and home lives was sticking to a schedule. It's also taken dedication — every day for the last year, he's gone to bed at 10 p.m. and gotten up at 4:15 a.m. to drive a half-hour to the Middle Tyger YMCA for a two-hour swim practice.

"I think that was really beneficial for me for gaining the ability to maintain a schedule in the future," Price said.

Price plans to join his older sister Georgia, a rising college senior, at Duke University in the fall. He'll be majoring in environmental engineering. 

"Environmental engineering was really the crossroads of all my interests in environmental science, engineering, and just my desire to help others," Price said. "I hope to maybe get a job with the government as an environmental engineer and really promote sustainable engineering for the entire country." 

While Price is a high achiever, his guidance counselor Matthew Love said he's always stayed humble. 

"He's an extremely humble young man, which you don't see a lot of these days, especially when you've had the successes that he has. He stays humble and he stays hungry, which is a testament to the impact his family's had on him," Love said. "He's a great student; he's a great teammate; he's a great friend."

Price encouraged any rising ninth graders who want to be Presidential Scholars when they graduate to get involved and focus on enjoying their high school experience. 

"Don't worry too much about your grades. Don't disregard them completely, but focus more on having a great experience in high school, a very broad and immersive experience," Price said.