Nathan Chen and Elizabeth Nguyen, graduating seniors at Garnet Valley High School, have been named two of more than 4,500 candidates in the 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. The candidates were selected from nearly 3.6 million students expected to graduate from U.S. high schools in the year 2021.
Inclusion in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program is one of the highest honors bestowed upon graduating high school seniors. Scholars are selected on the basis of superior academic and artistic achievements, leadership qualities, strong character and involvement in community and school activities.
The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964 by Executive Order of the President to recognize some of our nation’s most distinguished graduating seniors for their accomplishments in many areas: academic success, leadership, and service to school and community. It was expanded in 1979 to recognize students demonstrating exceptional scholarship and talent in the visual, creative, and performing arts. In 2015, the program was expanded once again to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical fields. Annually, up to 161 U.S. Presidential Scholars are chosen from among that year’s senior class, representing excellence in education and the promise of greatness in America’s youth. If circumstances permit all Scholars are invited to Washington, DC in June for the National Recognition Program, featuring various events and enrichment activities and culminating in the presentation of the Presidential Scholars Medallion during a White House-sponsored ceremony.
A distinguished panel of educators will review these submissions and select approximately 600 semifinalists in early April. The Commission on Presidential Scholars, a group of up to 32 eminent citizens appointed by the President, will select the finalists, and the U.S. Department of Education will announce the Scholars in May.