Julia Renner
Julia Renner
St. Mary's Academy senior and Northwest Portland resident Julia Renner has been named a 2013 candidate in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. Renner is one of about 3,000 candidates selected from among the nearly 3.4 million students expected to graduate from U.S. high schools this year.

Scholars are selected on the basis of academic and artistic achievements, leadership qualities, strong character and involvement in community and school activities.

"I'm honored by the opportunity to compete alongside such a talented group of students from across the country. I think it's a great thing that competitions like this exist to recognize the incredible amount of effort students put forth during high school," said Renner, 17.

A panel will select 500 semifinalists in early April. In May, the U.S. Department of Education will announce up to 121 Academic Scholars and up to 20 Arts Scholars.  "St. Mary's Academy is proud that Julia is being recognized for her academic success by the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. Her diligence and hard work have earned her this honor," said St. Mary's Academy Principal Patricia Barr.

Renner's writing portfolio recently received a gold key at the regional level in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and will proceed to national judging. She plans to study biology and English in college and pursue a career in biological research. Outside of St. Mary's, she tutors and volunteers at biweekly free dinners hosted by her church.

"Julia has an incisive mind, equally comfortable with the sciences and humanities," says Sara Salvi, Renner's former English teacher and faculty adviser for the Writers' Club.