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UCS senior one of four Michigan students to be named candidate for CTE presidential scholarship
UCS senior one of four Michigan students to be named candidate for CTE presidential scholarship
Posted on 02/10/2020
Studio photo of Joseph FrancisJoseph Francis already knows what it is like to save a life. 

Through his high school co-op program at Beaumont Hospital, the Henry Ford II senior and future CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) has first-hand medical experiences saving patients facing medical traumas. 

“It doesn’t happen every time, but when it does I can tell you it’s an amazing feeling,” Francis said.  “It makes me proud to know I was part of the team doing that.”

For his achievements, Francis has become one of four students in Michigan to be selected as a Career and Technical Education candidate in one of the nation’s top scholarship programs - the 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholar program.

The U.S. Presidential Scholar program is one of several college scholarship opportunities he is pursuing as he considers medical programs at University of Detroit-Mercy, Wayne State University or Oakland University. 

While the college choice may still be open, the future job is clear, thanks to his medical careers classes at Henry Ford II and the co-op program in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Beaumont. 

The appeal of being a CRNA, according to Francis, is the greater connection that he can make with patients.  

“I like the nursing aspect because you actually get to hang out with the patients and work with them,” he said. “Doctors have so many patients to see and they only have so much time. Nurses get to be close to the patients throughout the day.”

Connections are important to Francis, and it is the relationships he has made throughout his time in UCS that have had the greatest impact, particularly his former football coach Todd Koehn.  He added that he always knew he wanted to go into the medical field, and his medical careers teacher Karen Benson encouraged him to consider becoming a CRNA. 

“I have had great teachers who have helped me with what I want to do,” he said. 

Francis was selected for the Future DOCs program in Macomb County, which gives interested students more exposure to medical careers. He is also one of four presidents of his school’s National Honors Society, is part of Key Club, Student Council and has been a state qualifier for the HOSA (Health Occupations Student Association) medical careers competition. 

It is this path and drive that has led him to success as a candidate for Presidential Scholar. 

The Presidential Scholar program honors only 160 U.S. high school seniors each year in categories for fine arts, CTE or a general academic excellence. 

Two UCS graduates have been named Presidential Scholars over the past ten years. 

Presidential Scholars are selected by The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars. The Commission selects scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals. 

Semi-finalists in the program are expected to be named in April with Scholars announced in May. 

Of the three million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 5,600 candidates qualify for the awards determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, through nominations made by Chief State School Officers, other partner recognition organizations or the National Young Arts Foundation's nationwide YoungArts™ competition.