Officials of the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars and the United States Department of Education recently named two Manhattan High School students, Ethan Pauls and Mikaela Wefald, as candidates for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.
U.S. Presidential Scholars are guests of the commission during National Recognition Weekend, held in June, and enjoy an expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with government officials, educators, authors, musicians, scientists and other accomplished people. To commemorate their achievement, the scholars are awarded the U.S. Presidential Scholars medallion at a ceremony sponsored by the White House.
All U.S. Presidential Scholars are asked to identify those educators who have most influenced them. The selected educators are also invited to attend National Recognition Weekend. There, they are honored at a special reception to recognize and thank them for their efforts, and they are presented with the Teacher Recognition Award.
The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964, by executive order of the President, to recognize and honor some of the nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors. Each year, up to 141 students are named as Presidential Scholars, one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students.
Students have the opportunity to become Presidential Scholars based on two paths of accomplishment. The majority of the scholars are selected on the basis of broad academic achievement. Approximately twenty additional students are selected on the basis of their academic and artistic scholarship in the visual arts, the performing arts, or creative writing.
A review committee of qualified individuals experienced in secondary and post-secondary education evaluates candidates on their academic achievement, personal characteristics, leadership and service activities, and an analysis of their essay.