Here’s a snapshot of recent exemplary academic achievements by Nicholas DeSanctis of Ossining, a senior at Stepinac High School: “A” grades in two college-level Harvard summer courses in math and science; the coveted Rennselaer Medal with opportunity for a $120,000 scholarship; acceptance into the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth and National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist
This road to academic excellence began over the summer when DeSanctis participated in a seven-week online Harvard Pre-College Program and successfully completed Calculus 3 and Physics 2 courses and earned eight Harvard credits.
“What is singularly remarkable about DeSanctis’ accomplishment is that he not only earned the top grade of “A” for each rigorous college-level course but he was also afforded the unique opportunity to study alongside Harvard undergraduates,” said Frank Portanova (Class of ’93), Stepinac Vice Principal for Academics and Curriculum.
DeSanctis, a member of Stepinac’s groundbreaking Honors Academy who plans to pursue his interests in computer science and biomedicine at college, started the new school year by being accepted into Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth Program. He is presently taking a Linear Algebra course and will continue with Differential Equations and earn high school credits.
And although it is early in the college admissions process, DeSanctis was recently awarded the prestigious Rennselaer Medal from the Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute, a scholarship opportunity worth $120,000 for outstanding math and science students. The Medal was first presented in 1916 with two purposes: to recognize the superlative academic achievement of young men and women, and to motivate students toward careers in science, engineering, and technology.
DeSanctis was also recently named a National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist in the 2020-2021 school year who will compete for a scholarship to be awarded next year.
In addition to his busy academic studies schedule, as in past years, DeSanctis will devote time to his favorite extracurricular activities including the Campus Ministry, Stepinac Theatre and to community causes, especially as a volunteer remote tutor of students at other high schools in the region seeking guidance in subjects he knows best—math and science.
He began offering his free tutoring one-hour sessions remotely via Facetime during the height of the pandemic when face-to-face classroom instruction ended. At that time, he noted: “I felt that the pandemic would probably create a need for other students who might lack the resources or having a hard time adjusting to distance learning,” said DeSanctis, adding: “I would be happy to help them continue their education during this crisis.”
By the end of the spring semester, working from home, he had assisted about 20 freshmen and sophomores in chemistry, geometry, calculus and Algebra 2.
Although the days of full lockdown are over, DeSanctis believes there is still a need to help students. It’s an experience he has found personally fulfilling because of the positive feedback he has received from the students and their parents.
Nicholas is the third brother to attend the all-boys Catholic Stepinac. Preceding him were Joseph (Class of ‘15) and Mark (Class of ‘17).