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Bronx Neighbors: Melissa DeLuca

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For Melissa DeLuca, hard work plus tons of studying equals being named a 2013 U.S. Presidential Scholar.

The 17-year-old Herbert H. Lehman High School senior said being named one of 141 students across the U.S. to be recognized has not fully sunk in yet.

“I was really surprised, but really excited to be recognized on a national level like that,” she said.

Candidates were nominated by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars because of their outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams.

This whiz kid scored a 1600 on the reading and writing sections of the SATs.

The commission has selected scholars annually since the program’s creation in 1964, based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, and leadership.

“Technically a perfect score would be 2400, but the commission doesn’t include the essay portion of the SAT, which is new,” DeLuca said. “That’s probably because these awards date back to ‘60’s before that section existed.”

After being invited by the commission to apply to the program, DeLuca said she had to write six essays.

“Each essay is basically like a little snapshot of your life,” she said.

She also had to submit a recommendation from her high school. The commission then selected a male and female from each state to be named presidential scholars.

DeLuca will travel to Washington June 15 to be honored for her accomplishment and a chance to meet President Obama.

“It’s Father’s Day weekend, so hopefully he’ll be in town,” she said. “That would be pretty cool – before I turn 18 I got to meet the president. How many people can say that?”

DeLuca, who lives in Co-op City, said when she isn’t hitting the books, she likes to bake and do crafts, such as jewelry making.

“My room is a mess right now, there are beads everywhere,” she joked.

She is also a member of the National Honor Society and a math and science tutor for other students.

After she graduates in June, DeLuca will head off to college at Fordham University where she plans to major in Mathematics.

“My goal in life?” she asked. “I guess to just be happy, healthy, and enjoy what I am doing. I think that is all anyone could ever hope for.”

Kirsten Sanchez can be reach via e-mail at ksanchez@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3394

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