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Two Richard Montgomery HS Students Receive National Honors

May 14, 2009
Two Richard Montgomery High School students have received national honors for academic achievements. Both students, a senior and a junior, are enrolled in the school’s International Baccalaureate Program.

Nathan Prillaman has been named a Presidential Scholar, one of the highest honors given to U.S. high school seniors. Junior Julia Chartove won first place at the U.S. National Brain Bee Championship, a competition with questions related to areas such as memory, intelligence, emotions, sensations, stress and brain disorders.

Prillaman is one of four students in Maryland named a Presidential Scholar. MCPS had 20 Presidential Scholar candidates and four Presidential Scholar semifinalists this year.

“I’ve got a fantastic array of teachers,” Prillaman says. “Mr. (Peter) Perry, the music director, really pushed me to excel in a number of different instruments, to compose and to arrange.”

Prillaman is an Eagle Scout who composes music and plays several musical instruments, including the piano, bass guitar, clarinet and keyboards. He also is the music editor of the school’s literary magazine, Fine Lines. He plans to attend Yale University in the fall to pursue a degree in either music or political science/history.

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964 to recognize and honor some of the country’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors. In 1979, the program was expanded to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative and performing arts. The scholars will be honored during National Recognition Week in June in Washington, D.C.

After winning the National Brain Bee, Chartove will represent the United States at the International Brain Bee in Toronto in August. Last year, Richard Montgomery sophomore Elena Kim Perry won the U.S. National Brain Bee.

“I benefited a lot from having Elena around,” says Chartove, who prepared for the competition by making hundreds of flashcards and studying neuroanatomy books and plastic brain models. (She did look at a real brain as well.) “I want to go into neuroscience, so I thought the competition would be cool,” she says. Chartove also is in the Writing Club and is writing a science fiction book.

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