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David Phillippe: U.S. Presidential Scholar Nominee

Of the thousands of seniors expected to graduate from North Carolina high schools this year, David Phillippe is in a class of his own – one of 19 graduating seniors in the state chosen as a candidate for the 2023 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.

 High school senior in blue blazer and tie poses out of doors.The No. 1 senior academically at South Lenoir High School, David was nominated by LCPS for the honor, then chosen by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction to represent the state in the national selection process. Presidential Scholars are selected on the basis of superior academic and artistic achievements, leadership qualities, strong character and involvement in community and school activities.

“I was extremely surprised and humbled to find that I was selected as one of 19 seniors to represent North Carolina and continue on in the national selection process,” David said. “I am honored to represent North Carolina and Lenoir County Public Schools in this prestigious program.”

David is the second South Lenoir senior to be chosen as a national nominee in as many years. Natalie Dail, who is now a student at UNC-Charlotte, was a 2022 nominee.

President of the National Honor Society at South Lenoir and chief marshal at the 2022 graduation, David is currently enrolled in college-level classes through Lenoir Community College, where he’s a President’s List student and a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. He expects to earn an associate of arts degree from LCC by the time he finishes high school. His plans are to attend NC State University and pursue a career in engineering.

He is past president and a current member of South Lenoir’s Student Council Association and its Technology Student Association chapter. He tutors middle school and high school math through LCPS’s partnership with AmeriCorps and at South Lenoir he founded a clothes closet that gives students free access to business-appropriate attire.

An Eagle Scout, he is junior assistant scoutmaster with Boy Scout Troop 41. He is a member and former captain of South Lenoir’s cross country and track and field teams.

He is the son of Leigh and Patrick Phillippe.
“David Phillippe is an outstanding young man and a superb candidate for the US Presidential Scholars Program,” said Amy Jones, LCPS director of high school education, who nominated David for state consideration.

“He was chosen from other top-notch scholars from across the state to represent North Carolina in the national competition and he will represent us well,” Jones said. “David’s impact locally has included multiple service projects, tutoring and athletics as well as maintaining his status as the head of the class. We could not be prouder of David and all that he has accomplished already.”

The Presidential Scholars Program was conceived in 1964 to recognize exceptional academic success among high school seniors, then expanded in 1978 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative and performing arts. In 2015, the program was again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields.

Based on lengthy applications and a series of essays that national candidates complete, the program expects to name semi-finalists in mid-April and announce the U.S. Presidential Scholars in May.