Presidential Scholars Program recognizes 11 Missouri students
JEFFERSON CITY - U.S. Secretary of Education John King announced the selection of two Missouri high school students as U.S. Presidential Scholars and nine students as semifinalists.
The program selected Grant Pace of Riverside and Faith Wen of Strafford as 2016 U.S. Presidential Scholars. The 2016 U.S. Presidential Scholars consist of one young man and woman from each state selected annually.
The nine semifinalists include students from Columbia, Fulton and Vandalia.
- Alexander Beattie, Lake Saint Louis; Timberland High School, Wentzville
- Alexander Harmata, Columbia; David H. Hickman High School, Columbia
- Joshua Kazdan, St. Louis; John Burroughs School, St. Louis
- Olivia Long, St. Louis; John Burroughs School, St. Louis
- Nina McKee, Fulton; South Callaway R-II High School, Mokane
- Abbegail Robinson, Vandalia; Van-Far High School, Vandalia
- Gabrial Shahan, Hurdland; Knox County R-I High School, Edina
- Omkar Venkatesh, Clayton; Clayton High School, Clayton
- Derek Wang, Columbia; Columbia-Rock Bridge Senior High School, Columbia
“I am proud to recognize these outstanding seniors for their accomplishments and commitment to their education,” said Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. “These students represent what it means to graduate prepared for college and careers, part of the state’s goals to be a top 10 state for education.”
The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars honors students based on characteristics including academic success, artistic excellence, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.
A presidential executive order in 1964 established the program to recognize the nation's most distinguished graduating seniors.