Makayla Maisey (right) and Lea Bouton, her teacher who accompanied her to D.C. to claim her Presidential Scholar award. (Photo by Wesley Early, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage)Earlier this summer, 161 high school seniors from across the United States were selected as U.S. Presidential scholars. Makayla Maisey was one of two scholars selected from Alaska.Listen nowSince starting high school at Dimond High in Anchorage, Maisey said she always wanted to be involved in lots of school activities. On top of getting excellent grades she’s been a varsity athlete in three different sports and a member of Key Club, a school volunteer group. But Maisey said the most rewarding experiences came from being elected class president her senior year — she was also class president her junior year.Maisey said student government is what caused her to meet a broad cross section of her peers. And by the time she was getting her diploma, it had paid off.“When I got there, I heard a lot of people say, ‘I’ve not seen any of these people before. There’s a lot of people I’ve never seen before, and we’ve gone to school together for the last four years,’” Maisey recalled. “I didn’t have that feeling.”Maisey’s academic and extracurricular prowess caught the attention of the Department of Education, and she was nominated for the Presidential Scholar award. Following a lengthy application process Maisey had to wait to see if she was selected. While Maisey was OK waiting patiently for the results, her mom was a little more anxious.One of the awards associated with being a presidential scholar was a medallion. (Photo by Wesley Early, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage)“So she went online and googled them, and realized the list for that year had been released. So she sent me a picture of it and was excited and said, ‘Makayla! You made it. This happened,’” Maisey said. “And so that was how I found out, from a text from my mom before I heard from them later that day.”Maisey and Lea Bouton, one of her teachers, went down to Washington D.C. to receive the award. Though it doesn’t come with any sort of monetary award, she received a medallion and took a photo with First Lady Melania Trump in the White House.As she was touring the Capital, Maisey also met another public figure — though this time it was by accident. Maisey said she may have been the only scholar to have bumped into Vice President Mike Pence.“And he was really friendly. He congratulated me and… I don’t know, I feel like even though he only spoke to me for a minute or so, it was a very personal interaction,” Maisey said. “He didn’t separate himself from the situation, and he was genuinely interested in it. So I felt really really special and kinda in shock after he left.”Maisey will be attending Bringham Young University in Provo, UT this fall where she hopes to pursue a career as an orthodontist, although she said nothing is set in stone.