SOUTH EASTON — Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School seniors Andre Arzeno and Avery Hohengasser have been selected by Massachusetts Commissioner of Education Jeffrey Riley to represent the Commonwealth as Career and Technical Education (CTE) nominees for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.
Each year, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program recognizes up to 161 of the country’s most exceptional students. The program was expanded to include and celebrate the accomplishments of students studying career and technical education in 2015.
Presidential Scholars in CTE are selected for outstanding scholarship and demonstrated ability and accomplishment in their respective career and technical education fields. Nominees are selected from each state based on their academic rigor, technical competence, employability skills, and ingenuity and creativity.
Arzeno and Hohengasser were nominated by Southeastern Regional to the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and were recently selected as Massachusetts CTE nominees.
Arzeno, of Brockton, is a student in Southeastern’s Legal & Protective Services program.
Arzeno is a member of the National Honor Society, has received High Academic Honors and has received the Principal Leadership Award.
Outside of academics, Arzeno is a member of the Newspaper/Public Relations Club, Students Against Destructive Decisions, and the Social Justice & Equity Student Board. He is a representative for the state’s Southeast Regional Student Advisory Council and student representative for the Legal and Protective Services Advisory Board.
Arzeno has additionally served on the Southeastern Student Council since 2020 and is serving as Class President this school year.
“Since the moment Andre stepped foot on our campus, he has been an exemplary student and someone who many grew to admire,” said Criminal Justice Instructor Josh Brewster. “Many come into high school unsure of their future and what they want to accomplish. However, I can confidently say that Andre is the complete opposite. From the moment he enrolled in our criminal justice program, I have constantly watched him set and crush all goals he wished to accomplish. Throughout my time in education, I have never crossed paths with a student that is as articulate, intelligent, focused and driven as Andre. Andre is a no excuse, hard-nosed student who is determined and will not let anything stop him from achieving all of his goals. Andre encompasses what it means to have the hunger and will to succeed.”
Brewster added, “As his teacher, I can say Andre is an inspiration not only to his peers, but also adults in our school community. Andre exemplifies what it means to be a respectful, reliable, and a great leader as a student. When I think of an outstanding student inside the classroom and throughout the community, Andre is exactly that. He has excelled in our criminal justice program. There is no doubt in my mind that Andre will thrive and make the best of every opportunity awarded to him.”
Hohengasser, of West Bridgewater, is a student in Southeastern’s Engineering program.
Hohengasser has received academic high honors as a freshman, sophomore and junior, was recognized for perfect attendance as a freshman and sophomore, and has been a member of the National Honor Society since her sophomore year.
Through her vocational program, Hohengasser has been recognized with the Future Women Leaders in STEM Award. She has received awards at both the SkillsUSA State Engineering Technology/Design competition and the SkillsUSA National competition. She additionally holds a General OSHA 10 Certification.
“Avery has been passionate about engineering since the first day she walked into exploratory her freshman year. She was over-the-top motivated and her face lit up with every challenge or assignment. She has been a group leader from the start and that awesome flame of energy has been burning throughout her studies here at Southeastern,” Engineering Technology Instructor Angela Basse said. “I also learned quickly that Avery not only has a passion for STEM, but for STEAM. She walked into my class, early morning, during her first semester with me while I was playing Les Misérables to prepare for the day and she sang along, knowing every lyric.”
She added, “Avery has always had a special place for aeronautical and aerospace engineering and has been working so hard to be accepted into the Air Force Academy. She is so well-rounded and has incredible grit; she is most certainly one of the top five students I have encountered over my 18 years of teaching.”
Outside of academics, Hohengasser has participated in winter track and received the Coach’s Award, cross country and received the Golden Show award, and received a bronze medal in the Division 4 Massachusetts State Relays for Javelin. She has served as a captain for the cross country team as a sophomore, junior and senior, and a captain for the track and field team as a junior and senior. She has also participated in the PGA Jr. League, is a member of the Student Athletic Advisory Board, and serves as a Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association Student Ambassador.
Hohengasser is also a member of the Newspaper/Public Relations Club and has a part-time job. She has volunteered for Operation Christmas Child for several years, served as a student ambassador for Southeastern’s Open House, and served as a mentor for incoming freshman students.
“We are so pleased to have two students selected as nominees for the Presidential Scholars program this year,” Principal Weckesser said. “Andre and Avery are hardworking and high-achieving students who are always willing to help others through their extracurriculars and community involvement. They will represent our senior class and our school well, and we congratulate them on this honor.”
The 2023 U.S. Presidential Scholars finalists will be announced by the U.S. Department of Education in May and will be honored as part of the National Recognition Program, which is expected to take place in June.