Britt Masback is named 2020 U.S. Presidential Scholar

For the fourth consecutive year, a Catlin Gabel senior is recognized with the nation’s highest award for high school students.

Catlin Gabel senior Britt Masback has been named a 2020 U.S. Presidential Scholar, one of only 161 students nationwide to receive the honor this year out of 5,300 high school seniors who qualified.

In accepting the award, Britt recognized Palma Scholars Program Director Dave Whitson as his “distinguished teacher.”

The U.S. Department of Education announced the annual selection of U.S. Presidential Scholars, who were chosen for their academic success, artistic and technical excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, and evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals. The 2020 Scholars were chosen from among the 3.6 million students expected to graduate from high school this year.

This is the fourth consecutive year a Catlin Gabel senior has been recognized as a U.S. Presidential Scholar. Other recent awardees were Seth Talyansky ’19, Ameya Okamoto ’18, and Nikhil Murthy ’17.

In addition to his accomplishments at Catlin Gabel, Britt has played an active and impactful role in the civic life of Portland throughout his high school career. Programs and projects led by Briit include:

Youth Educating Police (YEP). Britt launched Youth Educating Police to reduce animosity and systemic disconnect between law enforcement and young people. The organization has created and delivered a groundbreaking training to the Portland Police Bureau, held yearly police forum events, and built a diverse, city-wide team of youth staff. 

Portland Committee on Community Engaged Policing and the Portland Police Bureau’s Training Advisory Council. He was appointed by the Mayor and selected by the Chief of Police to serve on these two local citizen review committees. He is the co-chair of the Youth Subcommittee for PCCEP and serves on the steering committee for TAC. 

Multnomah Youth Commission. He was chosen to join the Multnomah Youth Commission, a 27-member group that advised city and county governments on issues important to local youth. Britt served for three years on the Youth Against Violence subcommittee to identify risk factors for violence and abuse and develop coordinated responses with school groups and administrators. 

Global Youth Entrepreneurs. Britt co-founded GYE to facilitate youth startup experiences and cultural exchange opportunities. GYE has held events in the countries of Jordan and Georgia, in the U.S, and just kicked off the first ever online Innovathon program for 100 students in Ukraine and the U.S.

WANT News. Britt organized free four-day summer journalism seminars in August 2016-2019 for Portland high school students, many of whom attend schools without journalism programs/school papers. The program was hosted at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.

Learn more about the U.S. Presidential Scholars program and the 2020 awardees by accessing the U.S. Department of Education announcement here.