2018 U.S. Presidential Scholars Announced

Tuesday May 8th, 2018

Blog > 2018 U.S. Presidential Scholars Announced

Congratulations to the 54th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars, especially the 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts

The U.S. Presidential Scholars award—one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students who exemplify academic excellence—is presented on behalf of the President of the United States and honors up to 161 graduating high school seniors of high potential each year. The 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts are all YoungArts winners, and were nominated by the organization to The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars and selected based on academic and artistic excellence, leadership qualities and community service.

The 2018 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts include actors, dancers, singers, classical musicians, filmmakers, visual artists, photographers and writers, and join an illustrious group of YoungArts and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts alumni, including Tony Award-nominated performer and choreographer Desmond Richardson; Los Angeles Music Center President Rachel S. Moore; novelist and National Book Award Finalist Allegra Goodman; Grammy Award-nominated violinist Jennifer Koh; Bravo’s “Work of Art” winner Abdi Farah; Obie Award-winning actress Donna Lynne Champlin; and RCA Records award-winning singer-songwriter and Grammy Award-nominated artist Chris Young

"I want to congratulate this year’s class of Presidential Scholars on their achievement and also thank their parents, teachers and other academic advisors who have helped guide them along the way,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “These students have pushed themselves to be the best they can be, and I am certain that devotion will serve them well as they continue their individual learning journeys.”
From June 24–26, the U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts will join the other 141 U.S. Presidential Scholars from across the country in Washington, D.C. for the annual National Recognition Program, during which all Scholars receive a Presidential Medallion presented on behalf of the President of the United States. On June 25, the Arts Scholars will present their work to the public at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts through a special performance at 8 p.m. in Concert Hall titled "A Salute to the 2018 U.S. Presidential Scholars." The free multidisciplinary performance will celebrate all of this year’s awardees and will be directed by Tony and Grammy Award-nominated actor and singer and 1985 YoungArts Winner in Theater Michael McElroy. That evening, an exhibition of works created by the recognized photographers, visual artists and writers will also be on view in the Hall of Nations until July 1.

“What an honor to direct these young artists as part of this incredible program that recognizes and showcases the next generation of great artists in the U.S.,” said Michael McElroy. “As a YoungArts alumnus, I still remember the impact that early recognition made in my life and career, and I’m grateful to YoungArts and the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars and the U.S. Department of Education for encouraging these artists to pursue artistic careers and recognizing the importance of the arts in ensuring a culturally vibrant future.”
“On behalf of YoungArts, I am so proud to congratulate this year’s U.S. Presidential Scholars. We are honored to be the sole nominating agency for the arts component of the esteemed U.S. Presidential Scholars Program,” said Carolina García Jayaram, YoungArts President and CEO. “The Scholars in the Arts promise to be our country’s next generation of great artists, creating groundbreaking works that inspire and push us to new cultural heights.”

For more information about the Presidential Scholars Program, click here