NEW ALBANY — Like most high school seniors, Ian Kimbell has a lot of decisions to make before graduation. But Ian Kimbell is not like most high school seniors.

He recently returned from Washington, D.C. after being one of only 106 seniors from across the country honored for receiving a $25,000 Horatio Alger Scholarship. That makes him pretty unique, but there is more.

The New Albany High School senior has already been accepted to Stanford, Duke, Vanderbilt, Harvard, Yale, Cornell and Columbia — a who's who of academic giants. And that is just a partial list. He has until the end of the month to make his decision on where he will attend college.

And you will have to forgive Ian for missing the prom later this month. He has a good excuse. He will be making an official visit to Harvard that weekend.

"I will hopefully know when I see it. I have done a ton of research on all these place," he said about his future college home. "Hopefully when I make my visits I will get that vibe."

When it comes to excelling in and out of the classroom, Ian has definitely had that vibe. He has never made a grade below an A, had a perfect score on the ACT, has already completed 13 Advanced Placement classes and is one of 40 Indiana Academic All Stars. He is also a U.S. Presidential Scholar candidate, an honor Harrison Knable, a New Albany graduate, earned last year.

And while the majority of kids look forward to taking time off in the summer to wind down, Ian does the exact opposite. In 2016 he participated as one of the Indiana Ambassadors of Music Europe tour; in 2017 he attended a symposium at Yale that focused on economics for leaders; and last summer Ian was one of 36 science students from around the world selected to participate in a summer science program at the New Mexico Institute of Technology.

"I believe that Ian has a zeal for learning that is very rare for a student his age," said his senior counselor at NAHS Laura McGuirk. "He is a high achieving and personable young man whose commitment to learning and leading others is extraordinary."

Since all gifted students have the grades and test scores to get in to the list of colleges that have accepted Ian, the extra curricular and community activities is what separates many — including Ian — from the field. Besides being class president, he is also Science Olympiad team captain, Model United Nations team member, Be a Better Bulldog student mentor and serves on the Community Foundation of Southern Indiana Youth Philanthropy Council. He is also a student representative on the New Albany City Council.

"I feel like I had to push myself here at New Albany .... but New Albany has given me that opportunity," Ian said. "If I just came to school, went to class and just went home after school, I don't think I would have pushed myself as much. Being part of the academic teams here and involved in other organizations has given me the environment to be pushed. They gave me a competitive setting for learning."

Ian, who has two older brothers and a sister, said he has yet to decide on a major and is open to all possibilities. He said while he hates leaving New Albany and his family, he is ready for his next adventure.

"I think I am ready," he said. "I had a good time here but I am ready for the next stage. She [Mom, Roxanne] is definitely excited about all of this. She has seen me work hard and wants to see all that hard work pay off at end."

Chris Morris is an assistant editor at the News and Tribune. Contact him via email at chris.morris@newsandtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NAT_ChrisM.

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