Valley Students Named 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholar, Semifinalist

Valley High School senior Gabriel Mintzer has been named one of 161 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholars. Mintzer was selected from a pool of 722 semifinalists by the Commission on Presidential Scholars, and is one of only two 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholars from Iowa.

Senior headshot photo of Gabriel Mintzer.Mintzer is invited to Washington, D.C., in June for the National Recognition Program, which culminates in the presentation of the Presidential Scholar Medallion during a White House-sponsored ceremony. Inclusion in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program is one of the highest honors graduating high school seniors can receive. Scholars are selected based on academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership and demonstrated a commitment to high ideals.

Valley High School senior Cayden Codel was also selected as a semifinalist in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program from more than 5,100 candidates.

Mintzer, son of Michael Mintzer and Alla Mintzer-Zaprudsky of West Des Moines, is the co-founder and co-director of the Des Moines Student-to-Student Speaker Series, which provides students with monthly lectures given by STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) professionals. Mintzer is a member of the Valley High School science and knowledge bowl teams and the Central Academy mathematics team. He is also a member of the Valley High School National Honor Society chapter and the chapter treasurer.

Senior headshot photo of Cayden Codel.Codel, son of Franklin and Tracy Codel of West Des Moines, is a member of the Valley High School knowledge bowl, mock trial and swim teams. He is also a member of Valley’s National Honor Society chapter and is head of the chapter’s student tutoring committee. He is a member of the Moody’s Mega Math Challenge Team and has worked as a summer junior counselor at the Science Center of Iowa. Codel also earned placement in the Valley High School show choir, Iowa Opus Honor Choir and Iowa All-State Orchestra, and he participates in the Plymouth Congregational Church Youth Choir.

Congratulations to both of these students!