Carson City’s Curtis Basa named Presidential Scholar

One Carson City student has been named a national Presidential Scholar.

Curtis Basa, a Carson High graduate, was chosen as one of the 161 students across the United States to be named as a Presidential Scholar. Only two other students in Nevada were chosen as finalists.

“It was a surprise,” Basa said. “The other two students are from Reno so it is pretty cool that all of us are from Northern Nevada. I figured they would choose all students from Las Vegas so it was pretty awesome.”

The Presidential Scholar program recognizes and acknowledges students for excellence in academics, arts and Career and Technical Education. Students are nominated by school staff and have to complete an application and essay before the state school boards determine the semifinalists. From there, the students are chosen by the Department of Education and 161 are chosen as scholars.

“It feels surreal because honestly when you get chosen from the state level you feel like they don’t nominate a ton of kids so you will probably get this but not at the national level,” Basa said. “I thought there was no way I would get it, but when I found out I did, it was awesome.”

Basa was chosen for the Career and Technical Education field. Basa was No. 13 in this year’s Carson High graduating class and spent his high school career taking engineering classes. He’s planning on attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York in the fall to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering before getting a Master’s in robotics.

“When I think of anything on a national scale especially with that small town, small state mentality so a lot of kids don’t think they will do anything on a national level,” Basa said.

Basa said his family was excited for him and believed through the whole process he was going to win.

“They were anticipating (I would win) throughout and my mom kept looking in the mail and asking me if I had gotten any emails from them,” Basa said. “She kept sitting and refreshing the Presidential Scholar website page when they posted the names of the finalists.”

He said he found out that he was a semifinalist and then a finalist all within a week at the beginning of May.

The scholars will be recognized next week at a ceremony in Washington D.C., where Basa will get to spend three days exploring and connecting with the other national scholars.

“I am excited to meet the other scholars, it will be a cool experience,” Basa said.


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