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May 10, 2023
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JP O’Hare or Keshia Clukey

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U.S. Department of Education Honors Five New York Students as 2023 U.S. Presidential Scholars

The U.S. Department of Education today recognized five New York State high school seniors as U.S. Presidential Scholars, State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa announced. Recognition as a Presidential Scholar is one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students.

“Each of these awardees is an example of the limitless potential of our young people to achieve excellence when given the opportunity to do so,” Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. said. “I congratulate them on this superlative recognition of their academic excellence and leadership in school and in their communities.”

“I often say that New York has some of the very best students and our five U.S. Presidential Scholars are absolute proof that our state’s future is bright,” said Commissioner Rosa. “These honorees have demonstrated exceptional academic success, artistic excellence, or career skills. I am proud of their hard work and excited to see the amazing heights they will reach in life.”

The full text of the USDE news release is below:

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona today announced the 59th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars, recognizing 161 high school seniors for their accomplishments in academics, the arts, and career and technical education fields.

The New York scholars include (hometown, scholar, school, location):

  • NY – Armonk – Samantha Maya Milewicz, Byram Hills High School, Armonk, New York. 
  • NY – Flushing – Samara Baksh, The Spence School, New York, New York. 
  • *NY – New York – George Porteous, The Dalton School, New York, New York. (*U.S. Presidential Scholar in Arts) 
  • NY – Old Westbury – Kevin Zhu, Jericho Senior High School, Jericho, New York. 
  • NY – Oyster Bay – Sabrina Guo, Syosset High School, Syosset, New York.

“U.S. Presidential Scholars have always represented the future of our country and the bright promise it holds. I want each of these remarkable students to know: your passion and intellect, pursuit of excellence, and spirit of service are exactly what our country needs,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “On behalf of President Biden, I am delighted to join your family, friends, and communities in celebrating your accomplishments. Aim high, share your talents, and continue embracing opportunities to lead as your exciting future unfolds.”

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 a demonstrated commitment to community service and leadership.

Of the 3.7 million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 5,000 candidates qualified for the 2023 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 YoungArts, the National Foundation for the Advancement of Artists.

As directed by Presidential Executive Order, the 2023 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 8,000 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 2023 will be recognized for their outstanding achievement this summer with an online recognition program.

A complete list of 2023 U.S. Presidential Scholars is available on the U.S. Department of Education website.