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Two W.Va. Public School Students Named Presidential Scholars

May 10, 2013

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Two West Virginia public school students have been named 2013 United States Presidential Scholars, one of the nation's highest honors for high school seniors.  

Brett Atkinson of University High School and Michelle Ma of Morgantown High School, both Monongalia County, were chosen to represent West Virginia. The students, all high school seniors, were selected from about 3.2 million graduating seniors nationwide.

 “I offer my congratulations to Brett and Michelle for their hard work and dedication to their studies,” said state Superintendent Jim Phares. “This achievement will open the door to numerous educational opportunities for their continued success.”  

Presidential Scholars were chosen for their academic achievement, artistic excellence, leadership, citizenship, service and contribution to school and community. They receive an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. during National Recognition Week in June, when they receive the Presidential Scholars medallion. The four-day celebration also includes educational seminars, meetings with representatives of the three branches of government, a morning of community service, an exhibition of scholars’ artwork and a public performance at the Kennedy Center by the Presidential Scholars in the Arts. Winners also are scheduled to meet with President Obama.  

The Presidential Scholars program was established in 1964 to honor academic achievement and was expanded in 1979 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, literary and performing arts. It does not carry any monetary award.  

Since 1983, scholars also have invited their most inspirational teacher to travel with them to Washington, D.C., to participate in events. The teachers also receive a Teacher Recognition Award from the U.S. Department of Education.

For more information, contact the West Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Communication at 304-558-2699.

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