Scholars Meets Melania


Two Bergen County students met First Lady Melania Trump at the White House after being named Presidential Scholars this year.

Fort Lee’s Gavin Lifrieri, 18, and Tenafly’s Benjamin Wenzelberg, 18, were two of 161 high school seniors chosen from across the country. Both young men took a photo and chatted with the first lady in the East Wing. In between, they enjoyed some bonding time with their fellow honorees. “I loved getting to meet the other recipients,” Lifrieri says. “We all laughed over having to run to our bus from the White House during a downpour and getting our suits soaking wet—it was a fun day.”

Both Bergen natives are now freshmen at Harvard University. After receiving a perfect score on his SATs, Lifrieri plans on majoring in computer science and becoming an educator. Wenzelberg, who is classified as a Scholar in the Arts, is set to study world languages and music, which come quite naturally to him. The singer has already performed with the Metropolitan and New York City operas and written his own concertos. He is a classically trained singer, pianist, conductor and composer who had the chance to perform with his fellow Scholars of the Arts at Kennedy Center. “It was a huge honor to perform at the center; it’s such a beautiful place,” Wenzelberg says. “This show was all about the positive change artists make in the world.”

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