The 2010 U.S. Presidential Scholars came to Washington last week for a series of events that celebrated the students’ extraordinary academic, artistic, and civic achievements. The 141 Scholars, all graduating high school seniors, were announced last month following their selection by the presidentially appointed Commission on Presidential Scholars.
Established in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program symbolically honors all graduating high school seniors of high potential.
The 2010 Scholars have already accomplished a great deal in their young lives. They are National Merit Scholars and AP Scholars with Distinction; class officers, student body presidents and state legislative pages; Eagle and Girl Scouts; active church, synagogue, mosque and temple members; foreign language interpreters and tutors; family ranchers; budding novelists and poets, accredited culinary arts specialists, and licensed pilots; Special Olympics staffers; homecoming kings and queens; nationally ranked climbers; Red Cross volunteers and Habitat for Humanity homebuilders; animal shelter workers; standup comedians; Big Brothers and Sisters; Key Club International District Governors; team captains and star athletes in sports from football to field hockey; Governors’ and Mayors’ honorees; martial arts experts; coaches and mentors in nearly every academic, athletic and artistic discipline; Youth Symphony concertmasters; award-winning dancers; newspaper editors and journalists; top singers and musicians; and world citizens with roots or residencies in India, China, Korea, Germany, Nigeria, Australia, and the Azores.
While in Washington last week, the 2010 Scholars enjoyed a packed schedule that included a question and answer session with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, where the Scholars offered their views on subjects ranging from testing to teacher pay; a dinner in the Mellon Auditorium featuring Assistant Secretary Thelma Melendez at which each Scholar recognized his or her most influential teacher; and an evening show at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts featuring the work of the outstanding actors, singers, musicians, dancers, and artists in the group.
Most Scholars agreed that the highlight of the trip was their visit to the White House for a meeting and a photo with President Obama.
“Thanks for your extraordinary hard work; thanks for the example you set for the entire country,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan told the Scholars during his session with them. “I couldn’t be more proud of what you have accomplished; I actually couldn’t be more hopeful about what you will accomplish.”
For more on the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program’s mission, history, and eligibility requirements, and a list of the 2010 winners, go to: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/psp/index.html