Secretary DeVos Congratulates 2020 President's Education Awards Program Recipients

Secretary DeVos Congratulates 2020 President's Education Awards Program Recipients

Nearly 1.75 million elementary, middle, and high school graduates at more than 18,750 schools recognized
August 27, 2020

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today congratulated the 2020 President's Education Awards Program (PEAP) recipients, recognizing nearly 1.75 million elementary, middle, and high school graduates on their educational accomplishments. The students come from more than 18,750 public, private, and military schools from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and American military bases abroad.

"The President and I are pleased to congratulate this year's honorees and celebrate their success alongside their families, teachers, and mentors who have guided them along the way," said Secretary DeVos. "These students excelled even in the face of the unique adversity posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Their dedication to overcoming obstacles in pursuit of education will serve them well throughout their lifelong learning journeys."

PEAP was founded in 1983. Every year since then, the program has provided our nation's schools with the opportunity to recognize graduating students who meet high standards of academic excellence and those who have given their best effort, often overcoming obstacles to their learning.

Each year, eligible graduating K-12 students are selected by their school principals for recognition in two categories:

  • The President's Award for Educational Excellence —This award recognizes academic success in the classroom. To be eligible, students must meet requirements, including grade point average or other school-set criteria and choice of state tests or teacher recommendations.
  • The President's Award for Educational Achievement —This award recognizes students that show outstanding educational growth, improvement, commitment, or intellectual development in their academic subjects but do not meet the criteria for the Educational Excellence Award. Its purpose is to encourage and reward students who give their best effort, often in the face of special obstacles. Criterion for this award is developed at each school.

Individual recognition is bestowed by the President and the U.S. Secretary of Education, in partnership with the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the National Association of Secondary School Principals. The award includes a congratulatory letter to the student and certificate signed by the President, the Secretary, and the school principal.

Unlike other awards programs, the principal has sole discretion in choosing recipients based on eligibility. There is no limit on the number of awards as long as students meet the criteria for each award set by the school.

Despite the uncertainty and challenges related to COVID-19, the program continued to accept and fulfill nominations through July so that student recognition could continue. 

A list of schools, by state and territory, participating in the 2020 President's Education Awards Program is available here.

A recent Homeroom blog shares stories of graduating PEAP honorees as demonstrative of the achievement and improvement of recipients.