Carmel Valley Middle School student named Carson Scholar

Carmel Valley Middle School's Sammy Synn with Ben Carson and his wife Candy at an award ceremony in Carlsbad.
(Carson Scholars)

Samson “Sammy” Synn, an eighth grader at Carmel Valley Middle School, was named a Carson Scholar at the end of the last school year.

Former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson founded the Carson Scholar program to recognize fourth to 11th-grade students who achieve excellence in academics and community service. Carson Scholars are awarded a $1,000 college scholarship.

Sammy Synn.
(Charlie Synn)

Sammy was celebrated among other recipients at the West Coast Awards Banquet in Carlsbad on May 21. He was the only San Dieguito Union High School District student named a new Carson Scholar in the 2022-23 school year—his sister Michi, a junior at Canyon Crest Academy, was recognized as a five-time Carson Scholar this past school year.

According to his mother Stella Sung, Sammy is an accomplished debater with an interest in foreign and domestic policy. As a seventh grader, he was the top public forum speaker at the novice high school level at the John Lewis Invitational, a National Circuit debate tournament.

Sammy is also an avid writer who has earned a Scholastic Writing award. He has worked with his older sister Michi on Annihihate, a nonprofit she founded to address and combat Asian hate in schools. Sammy has also received two gold Presidential Volunteer Service awards for his community service efforts.

When asked about what the Carson Scholar means to him, Sammy said he hoped it would inspire others.

“I think it’s less about what I accomplished, but more about what others my age and beyond are capable of,” said Sammy. “It may be me today, but tomorrow it will be you.”

To nominate a student as a new Carson Scholar in October, visit