South Heart student Genavive Robbins is one of 65 North Dakota high school seniors to be nominated for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.

"She is definitely one of the top students in my tenure here at South Heart that we've had," said Scott Jung, secondary principal. "She is very committed to her academics. That's always been a priority. I think part of that is she's a bookworm. She reads and reads and reads and that definitely helps her. Every time most kids are talking in the hallway, she's reading a book or whenever she's got downtime in a class, she's reading a book. She's a very strong reader, which plays into her academic success."

Jung said Robbins excels in the fine arts areas.

"She entered into the Badlands Art Show a sketching of a bird, and she got, I think, an honorable mention for that. I don't know what they judge it on, because if I looked across the hall of that, it looked like someone took a black and white picture of a bird," he said.

Robbins enjoys drawing, reading, painting and running. She is a member of the Anacrusis Choir and band and participated in speech, volleyball and track and field. She participated in the academic competition Acalympics, where her team won the regional competition, and she was nominated for the North Dakota Class B Academic All-State Team.

Robbins comes from an educational background. Her father is a math teacher at Hope Christian Academy, and her mother is a paraprofessional at South Heart.

"When I was in sixth grade, I was homeschooled ... Having a dad as a math teacher really helped with that, and I got kind of advanced in math, especially during that year. I was like a grade ahead in math for awhile," she said.

After she graduates high school, she plans to study wildlife ecology in Wisconsin. She hopes to work in a zoo or wildlife rehabilitation facility.

"I've always been really fond of animals in general, but especially birds for some reason," Robbins said. "This fall, we went to Wisconsin because we have family that lives in Wisconsin. We went to visit them, and while we were over there, we visited a wildlife rehab facility specifically geared towards birds and large raptors, and that was a lot of fun. That's when it actually clicked for me that that's what I want to do."

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, a recognition program, was established in 1964 and includes 161 students each year. Students chosen for the program receive an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. in June and are presented a medallion at a White-House sponsored ceremony.

To be eligible for the recognition, student must score exceptionally well on either the SAT or the ACT. Robbins scored a 35 — almost a perfect score (which is 36). They must also be nominated by either their Chief State School Officer or by one of the program's partner recognition organizations based on outstanding scholarship.