Two W.Va. High School Students Named Presidential Scholars

June 12, 2006

CHARLESTON, W.Va. _ Two West Virginia students from the Class of 2006 are among this year’s 141 Presidential Scholars, one of the nation's highest honors for high school students.  

Andrew Bolano of Huntington and Linda Yao of Hurricane were chosen as scholars among six state semi-finalists. Bolano attended Covenant School, a private Christian school in Barboursville, while Yao attended Hurricane High School until their recent graduations.  

The other semi-finalists were Charles Chen of Morgantown, Morgantown High School; Lynn Elharake of Beckley, Woodrow Wilson High School; Tawfig Khoury of Wheeling, Wheeling Park High School; and Mary Underwood of Mineral Wells, Parkersburg South High School.  

Yao plans to study mathematics and economics beginning this fall at Harvard University, while Bolano plans to study engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. The scholars were chosen for their academic achievement, artistic excellence, leadership, citizenship, service and contribution to school and community. They will be honored in Washington, D.C. from June 24-27.  

The four-day celebration 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 in the Concert Hall of the Kennedy Center by the Presidential Scholars in the Arts. Winners also are scheduled to meet with the president.  

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

Bolano has invited teacher Adoth Rutherford to accompany him, while Yao invited teacher Louise Goode to join her. Up to 141 students are chosen annually from among thousands of outstanding seniors to become Presidential Scholars. About 2,700 students were identified as candidates this year from nearly 2.8 million graduating high school seniors.  

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