141 students named US Presidential Scholars

We congratulate the 141 high school seniors in the 51st class of US Presidential Scholars announced on May 4 by US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. The award recognizes high school seniors for their accomplishments in academics or the arts.

“Presidential Scholars demonstrate the accomplishments that can be made when students challenge themselves, set the highest standards, and commit themselves to excellence,” Mr Duncan said. “These scholars are poised to make their mark on our nation in every field imaginable: the arts and humanities, science and technology, law and medicine, business and finance, education and government—to name a few. Their academic and artistic achievements reflect a sense of purpose that we should seek to instill in all students to prepare them for college, careers, civic responsibilities, and the challenges of today’s job market.”

From Illinois

  • Siqi Liu of Naperville attends Naperville Central High School.
    Most influential teacher: Sarah Albiniak.
  • Joseph A Popelka, also of Naperville, attends Benet Academy in Lisle.
    Most influential teacher: Jennifer Gimmell.

From Maryland

  • Patrick Cha of Chevy Chase attends Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in Bethesda.
    Most influential teacher: David Lopilato.
  • Emily Yang of Clarksburg attends Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville.
    Most influential teacher: Susan Leckie.
  • Charles F Lilley of Olney attends Dematha Catholic High School for Boys in Hyattsville.
    Most influential teacher: Reginald Jackson.

About the US Presidential Scholars Program


Arne Duncan presents the US Presidential Scholars awards in 2012 (US Dept of Education via Flickr)

The 2015 Scholars are comprised of one young man and one young woman from each state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, and from US families living abroad, as well as 15 chosen at-large and 20 US Presidential Scholars in the Arts. Mr Lilley from Maryland was one of the 20 Scholars in the Arts.

Initial qualification for the award comes from SAT or ACT scores, as well as from nominations made by chief state school officers or the National YoungArts Foundation’s nationwide YoungArts competition. The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, appointed by President Obama, then selects honored scholars 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.

Created in 1964, the US Presidential Scholars Program has honored almost 7,000 of the nation’s top-performing students with the prestigious award given to honorees during the annual ceremony in Washington, D.C. The program was expanded in 1979 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, literary, and performing arts.

The 2015 ceremony will be held June 21, when each honoree will receive a Presidential Scholar Medallion.

About the Author

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.