MS Dept of Education

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Two Mississippi Graduating Seniors Named U.S. Presidential Scholars

JACKSON, Miss. – Two Mississippi students have been named among the 56th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars, which recognizes 161 high school seniors for their accomplishments in academics, the arts, and career and technical education fields.

Mississippi’s 2020 U.S. Presidential Scholars are Vayd Sai Ramkumar of Starkville, a senior at Mississippi School for Mathematics & Science, and Abigail Wiest of Hattiesburg, a senior at Sacred Heart High School.

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic and technical excellence, essays, school evaluations, and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.

“Mississippi’s Presidential Scholars have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to academics, leadership and community service,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “I am incredibly proud of their achievements and look forward to seeing what these future leaders accomplish after high school.”

Of the 3.6 million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 5,300 candidates qualified for the 2020 awards determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT or ACT exams or through nominations made by Chief State School Officers, other partner recognition organizations and the National YoungArts Foundation’s nationwide YoungArts™ competition.

As directed by executive order of the President, the 2020 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 U.S. families living abroad, as well as 15 chosen at-large, 20 scholars in the arts and 20 scholars in career and technical education.

Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored over 7,600 of the nation’s top-performing students. The program was expanded in 1979 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, literary and performing arts. In 2015, the program was again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields.

The Presidential Scholars Class of 2020 will be recognized for their outstanding achievement this summer as public health circumstances permit.

A complete list of 2020 U.S. Presidential Scholars is available at http://www.ed.gov/psp.

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