ST. PETERSBURG — Blaine Krauss, a senior in the arts program at Gibbs High School, was sitting in acting class Monday when he learned he had been named one of the scholastic elite: a presidential scholar.
In dramatic fashion, he spent a good while running around the school. "I screamed with my friend and ran out of the classroom," said Krauss, 18, of St. Petersburg. "It took me about an hour and a half to calm down."
Krauss is among 141 students nationwide — four in Florida and the only one in the Tampa Bay area — to receive the honor this year for exceptional academic achievement and artistic excellence.
Each scholar gets to invite his most inspiring or challenging teacher to a White House reception this June. Krauss selected Keven Renken, chairman of the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs and his acting teacher for three years.
"Blaine is an amazingly talented student," said Renken, who has taught for 21 years. "He is just one of them. He has it. You can just tell. He's a great singer, a great talent. He's just one of the special ones."
Krauss, who aspires to sing on Broadway and a career in the political stage, said he was glad to be part of good publicity for the high school. This fall, he is entering the University of Cincinnati to major in musical theatre.
"I am happy to be a product of Gibbs and to say that our school is generating great kids," he said.