Superintendent Heidi Riccio is pleased to announce that Essex Tech senior Amani Benouardia has been selected to represent the Commonwealth as a Career and Technical Education (CTE) nominee for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. Each year the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program recognizes up to 161 of the country’s most exceptional students. The program was expanded to include and celebrate the accomplishments of students studying CTE in 2015.
Presidential Scholars in CTE are selected for outstanding scholarship and demonstrated ability and accomplishment in their respective CTE fields. Nominees are selected from each state based on their academic rigor, technical competence, employability skills and ingenuity and creativity.
Amani Benouardia, of Haverhill, immigrated to the United States from Morocco at a young age and experienced many challenges; however, she did not let those barriers stop her from reaching her goals. She a student of Essex Tech’s Environmental Science program. She also has been selected to participate on the U.S. Congressional Team, part of the Congressional Youth Advisory Council, a civic engagement in which students discuss public policy and local issues, and work with their federal representative and congressional staff while serving their community. After graduation she plans to study government policy.
“Amani is a remarkable individual who excels in everything she does while being a kind and caring person. She has a competitive spirit, and she has achieved great success throughout her time in high school,” said Superintendent Riccio.
Benouardia is a student mentor, a founding member of the Essex Tech Debate Team, a member of the Math Team, mentor for the Integration Learning Program and a member of Essex Tech’s student-led diversity group, U-ACT. She also volunteers for numerous organizations outside of school. When Benouardia was a sophomore, she presented an Integration Academy project recap to the Essex Tech School Committee.
“Amani is a tremendous asset to the Essex Tech community,” said Principal Shannon Donnelly. “Most importantly, Amani takes care of those around her. Whether she is looking out for a younger student, a friend or even a teacher, she will advocate for others and work to make any situation better for them. She is wise beyond her years, and I am excited to see what the future holds for such an amazing young woman.”
“I am honored to have been named as the recipient of the United States Presidential Scholar Award nominee from Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School and even more appreciative to have been recognized by Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Riley as one of five finalists,” said Benouardia.
Benouardia spoke about her experience when she first came to Essex Tech and how the school community embraced her drive and passion for learning: “Coming to Essex Tech, I was worried that my accomplishments would be low and that my achievements hard to come by,” said Benouardia. “In a school full of dedicated and motivated students these thoughts continued to linger. Despite my initial pessimistic outlook, I had the opportunity to meet fantastic members of such a strong community who fully supported me in my various challenging endeavors, friends who spent hours after school to participate in extracurricular activities with me, and, most importantly, a family that always pushed me to do more. To be considered for such an award is truly an honor, and I am forever in debt to the people that have helped me along the way. Thank you so much!”