Meet The US Presidential Scholars For 2022

May is always a big news month for entering and graduating college students. It’s when most students make a final decision about where they’ll attend college, and it’s also when thousands of colleges and universities hold their annual commencement ceremonies, most of which are once again taking place in person following their suspension or modification the last two years because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

May also is the month each year when the newest class of US Presidential Scholars is revealed. This week the Department of Education announced the 58th class of US Presidential Scholars, honoring 161 high school seniors for their accomplishments in academics, the arts, and career and technical education fields.

Being named a US Presidential Scholar is considered one of the nation’s most prestigious academic awards for high school graduates. You can see the full list of this year’s class here.

“Our 2022 Presidential Scholars represent the best of America, and remind us that when empowered by education, there are no limits to what our young people can achieve,” said US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in the Department’s announcement. “Today, I join President Biden to celebrate a class of scholars whose pursuit of knowledge, generosity of spirit, and exceptional talents bring our nation tremendous pride. Throughout one of the most trying periods in our nation’s history and amid our recovery from the pandemic, our students have once again demonstrated their strength and that they have so much to contribute to our country. Thanks to them, I know America’s future is bright. “

Begun in 1964, the Presidential Scholars are selected annually by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars. This year the selections were made from about 3.7 million high school seniors on the basis of outstanding academic performance, artistic achievements, technical excellence, essays, community service, leadership and commitment to high ideals.

The Commission invites graduating high school students to apply for recognition based on their scores on the SAT or ACT exam, or they can be nominated by a Chief State School Officer or by one of the Commission’s partner recognition organizations. Candidates must be US citizens or legal permanent US residents.

Selection of the Presidential Scholars is guided by a quota. Each year’s class is comprised of one male and one female student from every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and US families living abroad. In addition, 55 other scholars are chosen – 20 in the arts, 20 in career and technical education and 15 selected at-large. The award does not carry any monetary stipend.

To date, the US Presidential Scholars Program has honored over 7,900 of the nation’s top high school graduates.

Florida led this year’s list with nine scholars; followed by New York and Texas, each with seven; and California with six. Four states (Arizona, Delaware, Illinois, and Virginia) had five winners each.

The collective accomplishments of the latest Presidential Scholars are as impressive as ever. Several, like McKenna Sun, a senior at Paul Laurence Dunbar High in Lexington, Kentucky, and Kyle Chen, from Rock Bridge High School in Columbia, Missouri, earned perfect or near-perfect scores on the ACT or SAT.

Their ranks include valedictorians, national scholarship recipients, and inductees into the National Honor Society. Many Scholars, like Lydia Marie Pastore from Mesa, Arizona and Skylar Walters from New Vernon, New Jersey, have received honors for their scientific research.

Of course, student-athletes are well-represented with martial arts practitioners, soccer players, cross country runners, tennis players, and varsity golfers, all included among the 161.

Because it deliberately selects students from the arts, the Commission is able to identify some outstanding creative and performing artists.

  • Joshua Brown, from Interlochen Arts Academy, is an actor, and Quoc Bui, also from Interlochen, is a visual artist.
  • Florida’s Kailey Rose Worontsof is an award-winning dancer. You can watch her perform here.
  • Jonathan Chen, from Iowa City, Iowa, has won numerous awards for his musicianship.
  • Miye Sugino is an artist and writer from California. Her work has been recognized by such organizations as the National YoungArts Foundation, Japanese American National Museum, and Juniper Writing Institute.

Several Scholars have distinguished themselves by their community service. As examples,

  • Edward Shen, from Pine View School in Sarasota, Florida, formed a creative writing workshop for people suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
  • .Charlye Mikayla Allen was named the winner of the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen Scholarship for the state of Georgia.
  • Juliana Schneider, from Reno Nevada, helped develop VoluntYOU, an app that matches volunteers with organizations that need volunteers.

But inevitably, it’s the unexpected, out-of-the-ordinary talents that turn your head.

  • Oregon’s Jenny Duan plays the piano in a jazz band and is a co-leader of the local Asian Student Union.
  • Rishika Kartik, from St. Mary’s Academy High School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, is President of the Colorado Tactile Art Club, where she helps create opportunities for blind students to express themselves and find community.
  • Jui Khankari, of Oak Brook, Illinois, won the prestigious Diana Award for her work in building an artificial intelligence platform for youth. She was accepted for admission by 18 different universities and colleges.
  • Claire Swadling, from Plymouth, Michigan is the founder of Health. Right. Now., A nonprofit that educates youth about applications of artificial intelligence to environmental and public health solutions. Additionally, she has made short films on political issues that have earned recognition from both government officials and C-SPAN.

The 2022 class of Presidential Scholars is a remarkable group, embodying the greeting President Lyndon Johnson gave to the very first group of Scholars on June 10, 1964:

“You are not here today because you are typical or because you are a representative of your generation or your graduating class. You are here because of what you have accomplished, in your own right, and what you have the capacity to accomplish in the future in your own right. You have excelled in the scholarship of your class of 1964. You have the potential to excel even more in the citizenship of your country of 1974, 1984 or 1994. “

The Presidential Scholars of 2022 will be recognized for their outstanding achievements with an online recognition program later this summer.

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