Students named semifinalists for Presidential Scholars Program

Six Kansas high school seniors have been named semifinalists in the 2013 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. The program recognizes some of the nation’s most distinguished graduating seniors based on exceptional scholarship and talent in the visual, literary and performing arts.

“Attaining this level of recognition in the Presidential Scholars selection process is a significant accomplishment,” said Kansas Education Commissioner Dr. Diane DeBacker. “These six students have demonstrated uncommon dedication to academics, artistic endeavors and leadership both in school and in the community. I commend them for this achievement and for the hard work and focus that brought them to this recognition.”

Nationwide, approximately 560 semifinalists have been named. From that number, up to 141 students will be chosen U.S. Presidential Scholars. Scholars will be announced in May and will be invited to attend national recognition events in Washington, D.C. this June. While in Washington, the students will be awarded the Presidential Scholars medallion at a ceremony sponsored by the White House. The scholars will also have the opportunity to meet with government officials, educators, authors, musicians, scientists and other accomplished individuals.

Approximately 3,000 candidates are identified for the Presidential Scholars Program through broad academic achievement or based on academic and artistic scholarship in the visual arts, the performing arts or creative writing. Approximately 20 female and 20 male students from each state and U.S. territory are identified based on exceptional scores on the ACT or SAT college readiness exams. In addition, each Chief State School Officer may nominate three male and three female candidates based on outstanding scholarship. Candidates identified for their achievement in the arts are selected by the National YoungArts Foundation from among those participating in the YoungArts program.

The Kansas semifinalists are:

  • Mark R. Kreider

Newton High School, Newton


  • Dylan J. Meyer

Rock Creek Jr.-Sr. High School, St. George


  • Gavriel A. Schreiber

Blue Valley North High School, Overland Park


  • Zijing Song

Blue Valley Northwest High School, Overland Park


  • Maria M. Stoica

Washburn Rural High School, Topeka


  • Cassie Wang

Olathe Northwest High School, Olathe

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