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Five New Jersey Students Are Among 161 High School Students Named as 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholars

Washington, DC, May 22, 2017 — U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on May 5 announced the 53rd class of U.S. Presidential Scholars, recognizing 161 high school seniors for their accomplishments in academics, the arts and career and technical education fields.

Five of this year’s honorees hail from New Jersey:

  • Sanjana Duggirala, East Windsor – Mercer Cty Tech Schools – Health Science Academy
  • Winona H. Guo, Princeton – Princeton High School
  • Lianah Sta. Ana, Freehold – Howell High School
  • Gavin P. Lifrieri, Fort Lee – Fort Lee High School
  • Benjamin Wenzelberg, Tenafly – Tenafly High School

“I congratulate this year’s class of Presidential Scholars for their devotion to academic excellence and their parents and teachers who have guided them along the way,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

“Today’s Presidential Scholars are tomorrow’s leaders, and I am confident they will continue to be shining examples as they enter the next phase of their academic careers.”

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects scholars annually 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.

Of the 3.5 million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 5,100 candidates qualified for the 2017 awards determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, through nominations made by Chief State School Officers, other partner recognition organizations or the National YoungArts Foundation’s nationwide YoungArts™competition.

The 2017 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 from U.S. families living abroad, as well as 15 chosen at-large, 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts and 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in Career and Technical Education.

Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored almost 7,500 of the nation’s top-performing students with the prestigious award given to honorees during an annual ceremony in Washington.

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 2017 ceremony will be held June 18, when each honoree will receive a Presidential Scholar Medallion.

A complete list of 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholars follows and is also available at http://www.ed.gov/psp.