PALISADE, Colo. (KKCO) -- There are only two Colorado students who made the cut as a U.S. Presidential Scholar, and one of them lives in the Grand Valley.
Anqi Yu is days away from graduating from Palisade High School, and what better way to cap off her four years than being named a Presidential Scholar.
"I was just really shocked," said Yu. "I feel like no one really expects these things to happen to them."
She said becoming a U.S. Presidential Scholar seemed like a stretch.
"So I thought it would be interesting just to apply and see what would happen," said Yu. "A week ago I heard I was actually a scholar. I’m a scholar for academics."
This isn't just your average award. Only two people from each state are given this prestigious recognition.
"Which makes her the top female in Colorado academically," said Yu’s teacher, Matt Borgmann.
Yu said it was like applying to college--essays, recommendations, and high test scores.
"I got a 36 on my ACT, which was really surprising, but that made me qualify for this award," said Yu.
Each scholar then picks a teacher to recognize. Yu picked her international baccalaureate teacher, Matt Borgmann.
"Mr. Borgmann is definitely one of those teachers that I felt put in so much work to make sure we were successful in school," said Yu.
"First off, this was all Anqi; she’s a pretty phenomenal kid,” said Borgmann. “When she sent me the email to tell me, I’ll be honest…I got teary eyed."
Borgmann said the award is far more than a reflection of her smarts.
"Yeah, she’s smart, she aced the act…the girl is intelligent," said Borgmann. “But she has every other piece that goes with it; part of it is just the work, the interest, and the love to learn."
As Yu’s high school career comes to an end, another door opens.
“I love Palisade and my experience here," said Yu. "I am attending Stanford."
"All her peers know how great she is and I think finally there’s this one thing that everybody can say, ‘oh wow, Anqi is that good,’" said Borgmann.
Yu will head to the White House in June, where U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will recognize her and the other scholars.
Yu said she is most excited to speak with our nation’s leaders and meet fellow scholars.