Nakamoto Named 2017 Presidential Scholar

Rachel Breitweser ’03

May 12, 2017

Punahou senior Carter Nakamoto has been named a 2017 Presidential Scholar from Hawai‘i. Nakamoto is among 161 high school seniors across the country chosen from a pool of over 5,100 invited qualifying graduating seniors. Another Hawai‘i student, Emily Yang of Kalani High School, was also named as Presidential Scholar.


Initiated in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholar Program recognizes the nation’s highest-achieving seniors, honoring students based on excellence in academics and the arts, as well as leadership and contributions to their community. Since 1983, each Presidential Scholar has invited his or her most inspiring teacher to travel to Washington, D.C., to receive a Teacher Recognition Award from the U.S. Department of Education and to participate in the recognition events.

Nakamoto is active in the Speech and Debate Club and is captain for the Lincoln-Douglas team. He is a lead Teaching Assistant with the Japanese immersion program and been a Teaching Assistant in Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

His list of recognitions includes a Rensselaer Medal, which is a scholarship awarded by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a President's Volunteer Service Award, and he is a National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist. His Punahou Excellence Awards include English, AP U.S. History, Geometry, AP Physics and Biology Honors, which was based on both academic achievement as well as a vote of peers.

Classmates have said Nakamoto not only understands the concepts but is also quick come to the aid of others. “He really cares about other students and their learning, and he is always willing to help,” said Science teacher Alex Paer ’08, who Nakamoto named as his most influential teacher and mentor.

Nakamoto cites his parents and the School as important facets of his life. “My family has been really supportive in creating an environment where it was easy to be dedicated to my passions,” said Nakamoto. “Punahou has provided a great community of inspiring teachers and students.”

Paer and Nakamoto look forward to the 2017 ceremony, which is held at the White House in June, when each honoree will receive a Presidential Scholar Medallion.


  • 5/17/2017 9:38:20 PM

    Congratulations, Carter! – Stefanie Lawton


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