Burniske Named 2008 Presidential Scholar

July 17, 2008

This past May, Christopher W. Burniske ’08 received one of the nation’s highest honors, becoming one of 139 outstanding seniors from across the United States to be named a 2008 Presidential Scholar. Students are selected based on their outstanding academic achievement, artistic excellence, leadership, citizenship and service to their schools and communities.

Burniske is an honors student in chemistry, biology, Spanish and trigonometry. He has been a varsity runner on both the cross country and track teams since his freshman year. As a senior, he captained both of these teams. He also served as class president in his freshman year, Punahou Carnival Booth Chair in grade 11, and president of the Glass Club, comprised of student glassblowers. Burniske plans to attend Stanford University in the fall and major in environmental studies.

Since 1983, each Presidential Scholar has had the opportunity to select his or her most inspiring teacher, who travels to Washington, D.C. to receive a Teacher Recognition Award from the U.S. Department of Education. Chris nominated science teacher Mike Hu as his most inspirational teacher.

“Mr. Hu is one of the many great teachers I’ve had at Punahou,” said Burniske. “He is awesome. ... I’ve seen him do the near impossible: make AP Chemistry enjoyable for everyone. As they say ‘Hu Cares.’ Mr. Hu is able to make any situation comical and keep every student captivated in a rigorous AP course.”

In the past five years, Punahou School has had six students named as Presidential Scholars, including two Scholars in the Arts.

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