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John Marshall’s valedictorian now one of three in state to hold ‘Presidential Scholar’ title

John Marshall High School

7NEWS met with the valedictorian who was shocked and the teacher who placed his bets.

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July 04 2021 08:00 pm

MARSHALL COUNTY, W.Va. (WTRF) — You would have guessed the Presidential Scholar title is something rare to come by, but one John Marshall student just gained the attention of the nation.

John Marshall’s Zara Zervos was just named a Presidential Scholar. She is one of only three in the whole state of West Virginia.

It’s a really big honor to represent the state and Marshall County as a whole on this national level.

Zara Zervos, US Presidential Scholar Winner

Out of 161 Presidential Scholars named in the nation, Zara put Marshall County on the map. Of those 161 – She was one of 20 to win the U.S. Presidential Scholar in the ‘Career and Technical Field.’ 

She had no idea what to expect, but her teacher, Gavin Hartle, weighed the probability when he nominated her. 

“I thought there was a good chance,” said Hartle.

The JM staff helped workshop a class schedule fit for Zara: Five AP classes, engineering, strings, sports! Zara attributes this huge accolade, in part, to the lesson planning at John Marshall. 

“The career and technical education pathways offered here at JM are really what helped me do this. I’m in the engineering project lead the way pathway. Which is a four-year course that you start freshman year. You take one class each year. JM is the only school in the whole state that offers all the project lead the way classes.” 

 “We are the only county is West Virginia that has comprehensive Project Lead the Way from kindergarten all the way up through 12th grade.” 

Zara Zervos and Mr. Hartle

Mr. Hartle has known Zara since she was in eighth grade, when she shadowed a high school engineering class. She fit right in.

Now, four years later, as she walks the halls of JM one last time, he says the future is bright for this student of his. 

“It’s just phenomenal for her.  It’s great to see a student who strives to do her best, to put her best foot forward in every single project, to get that award. It couldn’t go to a better person.” 

Gavin Hartle, Project Lead the Way teacher at JM

This title will follow her to WVU in the fall where she will study aerospace engineering.

There’s usually a huge dinner in Washington D.C. with all 161 scholars where they meet with the president, but because of the pandemic, Zara says that probably will not happen. 

But the celebration doesn’t stop as Zara is Valedictorian for John Marshall’s class of 2021, and she is set to speak at graduation Tuesday night in WesBanco. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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