COPLEY: For Copley High School senior Alan Du, the right numbers may equal White House recognition.
Those numbers, based primarily on scores he posted the SAT and ACT, added up to him being one of 3,000 students nationwide selected as a U.S. Presidential Scholar candidate.
The soft-spoken 17-year-old earned 2280 out of a possible 2400 on the SAT and a perfect 36 on the ACT.
Up to 141 students are selected for the honor started by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964 to recognize distinguished graduating high school seniors.
Du and his fellow candidates will be notified by the middle of next month if they’ve made the first cut to the semifinal round. The selected finalists will then be notified by May. The award winners will then be honored at National Recognition Weekend scheduled for June 15-18, according to the Department of Education’s website.
The honor is awarded, according to the website, "on the basis of outstanding scholarship, service, leadership and creativity through a rigorous selection and review process administered by the White House, Commission on Presidential Scholars and the Department of Education."
Growing up, Du said his parents emphasized the importance of education.
"They motivated me,” he said. “It wasn't pressure. They taught me the importance of doing well in school."
His father, Ming, and mother, Jenny, are engineers who immigrated to the United States from China.
Du also has a 13-year-old brother, Kevin, who is an eighth-grader at Copley-Fairlawn Middle School.
Somewhat self-consciously he admits that during his free time he watches "a lot of television" and worries about his taste for fast food at Taco Bell and Chipotle.
"I'm trying not to; I'm trying to stay fit," he said with a smile.
Also in his spare time Du said he likes to read and snowboard at Boston Mills. With a fleeting faraway look in his eyes he said he would like to one day see the mountains in Colorado.
Du, who competes on the varsity chess, soccer and tennis teams, said he enjoys two subjects in particular in the classroom.
"I like math for sure," he said. "My favorite subjects are probably math and history.''
His love of numbers could also lead to a career in his future. Du said he is considering a college major in economics or in business.