GRASS VALLEY (CBS13) – A Grass Valley native is one of only 32 college students in the nation to receive the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, a $50,000 award.

Daniel Price, a 2009 Bear River High School graduate, was announced Saturday as one two Rhodes Scholarship winners from Northern California for the class of 2013.

“I feel incredibly honored,” he told CBS13 over the phone Monday. “I feel absolutely lucky.”

Daniel is in his senior year at UC Berkeley, where he’ll earn two engineering degrees. This 21-year-old is now on his way to Oxford University for a master’s program after winning what some consider the most prestigious scholarship in the world.

His father, Eric, told CBS13 Daniel had math on his mind at an early age.

“He was doing multiplication in his head when he was 3,” he said. “He would ask me questions in his car seat about mathematics. He just needs to know things.”

His ability to explore, ask, and retain while keeping creative, competitive and adventurous earned him this top honor.

“They also look for athletic accomplishments,” Daniel said.

A snowboarder since he was young, Daniel is not what you may expect from a whiz kid, tearing up the slopes, loving snow at Tahoe, a fun and friendly straight A student who digs adventure.

“All the schools I went to in Grass Valley were phenomenal,” he said.

He says chemistry teacher Ms. Payton was one of the most influential instructors.

“He’s just a brilliant and interesting kid,” said Wendy Payton, who teaches AP chemistry. “He’s always thinking outside of the normal parameters.”

As a Rhodes Scholar, she has no doubt his future will be beyond normal parameters.

“I think it sets you up on a path to see yourself as more exceptional,” she said.

Not only does he attribute a lot of his success to the unique experience of growing up in Grass Valley, but he misses home. He’ll be back for the holidays and has a lot to celebrate this Christmas.