Because of his outstanding achievements in math and science, El Modena High School graduate Nick-Anthony Buford was among six Orange County students selected as this year's National Science Scholars.
"It means a lot to me because I've always worked very hard to find a way to pay for college without putting the burden of going to Harvard University on my parents," said Buford, who graduated as valedictorian of his class Thursday with an overall grade-point average of 5.02.
Buford, 18, of Orange, has received other scholarships and plans to attend Harvard in the fall to study computer science.
Nationwide there were 861 students selected as National Science Scholars. The students were recommended to President Clinton by Education Secretary Richard W. Riley and National Science Foundation acting director Frederick M. Bernthal.
Each student will receive a $1,750 scholarship for the 1993-94 academic year.
"This valuable program rewards students by recognizing their achievements in the fields of mathematics and science," Riley said in a prepared statement. "Scholarship in all fields is to be valued, but in the sciences it is critical that we encourage and acknowledge academic accomplishment as we work toward the national education goal of being first in the world in those critical fields."
Other Orange County students earning the top honor were: Ok Yun of Santa Ana, Jennie Ou of Anaheim, Ellis Meng of Orange, Tam Thanh Nguyen of Santa Ana and Lauren Aquino of Huntington Beach.
Bernthal said the scholarships help to ensure that these students can pursue their education in the scientific and technical fields.
Scholars are selected for their outstanding achievements in one or more of the sciences, for their commitment to continued academic success and their interest in a science-related career. The scholarship program is open to graduating seniors who plan to study physical, life or computer sciences, mathematics or engineering.
Buford said he was honored to be a recipient.
"It's a very select group of people nationwide," he said. "It's an award that I was very honored to receive because I know the competition is very tough--and that the people who won were of equal, if not better quality, than myself."