For the first time in its 50-year history, two students from Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School were recently selected as candidates for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.
Gabriella Ortiz of Haverhill and Nathaniel “Nate” Shramko of Groveland are among more than 5,000 students nationwide and 131 in Massachusetts who this year will compete for 161 spots in the program. Established in 1964 by Executive Order of the President, the program recognizes some of the nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors. In 2015, it was expanded to include students studying career and technical education.
“This is a big moment for Whittier Tech. We’ve always done well with Presidential Scholars, but this is the first time that we’re sending two students to the next round,” Superintendent Maureen Lynch said. “In many ways, it’s not surprising. Massachusetts public schools are among the best in the country and Whittier Tech is a part of that success. We couldn’t be more proud of Nate and Gabriella and the wonderful staff at Whittier Tech who’ve helped them along the way.”
Ortiz is a senior studying Business and Marketing and works a co-op job at Go Tax Accounting & Services in Haverhill. She holds a 4.22 grade-point average and is ranked 12th in her class. Shramko is a senior studying Electronics/Robotics and works a co-op job at Rochester Electronics in Newburyport. He holds a 4.409 grade-point average and is ranked fourth in his class.
Each secured a Gold Medal at the 2023 SkillsUSA Championships in the categories of Electronic Technology and Business, Management and Technology, respectively.
Ortiz plans on majoring in Early Education in college. Her top choices are Merrimack College, Lesley University, Stonehill College, Bridgewater State University and Rivier University. Shramko plans on majoring in Electrical Engineering in college. His top choices are Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, State University of New York at New Paltz and Drexel University.
They will enjoy a head start on their college careers courtesy of the Early College Program, a joint initiative between Whittier Tech and Northern Essex Community College. By the time of their graduation, Ortiz will have earned 9-12 credits, and Shramko will have earned 27-34 credits.
The U.S. Department of Education will announce semi-finalists in April and Scholars in May.