OXFORD, Miss. — U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced the selection of Yuqi Zhao of Oxford, Mississippi, who attends Oxford High School in Oxford, as a 2014 U.S. Presidential Scholar.
Zhao is one of 141 outstanding American high school seniors who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, artistic excellence, leadership, citizenship, service and contribution to school and community. The U.S. Presidential Scholars will be honored for their accomplishments in Washington D.C., from June 22-25.
“The extraordinary young men and women being honored for the 50th anniversary of the Presidential Scholars have excelled in their educational, artistic and civic pursuits,” Duncan said. “They show all of us that when students challenge themselves and commit themselves to excellence, the results can be astounding. These scholars will help move our country forward and will have a lasting impact on their families, communities, and on our society. They represent the potential of all young citizens to lift up America.”
The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, appointed by President Obama, selects honored 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. Of the three million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 3,900 candidates qualified for the 2014 awards determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, and through nominations made by Chief State School Officers or the National YoungArts Foundation’s nationwide YoungArts™ competition.
The 2014 U.S. Presidential Scholars are comprised of one young man and one young woman from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and from U.S. families living abroad, as well as 15 chosen at-large and 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts.
Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored more than 6,500 of the nation’s top-performing students with the prestigious award given to honorees during the annual ceremony in D.C. The program was expanded in 1979 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, literary and performing arts.
Since 1983, each Presidential Scholar has been offered the opportunity to name his or her most influential teacher. Each distinguished teacher is honored with a personal letter from the Secretary of Education.
The teacher chosen for recognition by Zhao was James Reidy of Oxford High School in Oxford, Miss.