Nine Oklahoma seniors selected as U.S. Presidential Scholar semifinalists

Published: 05/02/2021, 6:40 PM

(OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.) Nine Oklahoma students have been named semifinalists for the U.S. Presidential Scholars award, one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students, by the U.S. Department of Education.

Each year, up to 161 graduating seniors are named Presidential Scholars for their accomplishments in academics, the arts, and career and technical education fields.

The Oklahoma semifinalists are as follows:

Braden Burns of Kingfisher, Kingfisher High School

Sean Michael Kuehn of Sand Springs, Charles Page High School

Nicholas V. Papavassiliou of Norman, Norman North High School

Brady M Read of Tulsa, Broken Arrow High School

Alexander Steele of Guthrie, Edmond North High School

Shrea Tyagi of Broken Arrow, Union High School

Emily Jordan Benelli Ward of Locust Grove, Locust Grove High School

Celina Zhao of Edmond, Edmond Memorial High School

Jessica Nicole Zimmerman of Ardmore, Plainview High School

“We are proud to salute these exceptional seniors, who have excelled in the face of an unprecedented pandemic that has impacted all schools. Their dedication, resilience and leadership in their schools and communities are to be commended,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister.

From nearly 3.6 million graduating high school seniors from across the country, over 6,500 students were identified as candidates in the program. The 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars will be selected in mid-May.

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964, by executive order of the President, to recognize and honor some of our nation's most distinguished graduating high school seniors. The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.


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