This week, Secretary Duncan announced the 2015 class of U.S. Presidential Scholars. This program was established by Executive Order in 1964 to honor academic achievement by graduating high school seniors. It was expanded in 1979 to honor students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the arts. Each year, 141 students are named, including at least one young man and woman from every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and American families living abroad. Another 15 students are chosen at-large, and 20 students are scholars in the arts. Over 4,000 candidates qualified on the basis of outstanding ACT or SAT scores and through nominations by Chief State School Officers or the National YoungArts Foundation’s nationwide YoungArts competition. The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars — appointed by the President — selects the finalists 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. Scholars will be recognized at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on June 21.
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