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Three Kansas students named 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholars

Posted: May 13, 2022
Categories: KSDE
Author: Ann Bush

Six other students named semifinalists

Three Kansas students are being recognized as 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholars by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars.

Nine Kansas students were selected in April as semifinalists for the 2022 Presidential Scholars Program. From that list, three students were named Presidential Scholars - Shekhar Kumar Gugnani, a senior at Fort Scott High School, Fort Scott Unified School District 234; Jordin Reese MacKenzie, Blue Valley North High School, Blue Valley USD 229 (U.S. Presidential Scholar in Arts); and Gauri Yadav, a senior at Olathe North High School, Olathe USD 233.

Gugnani, MacKenzie and Yadav are part of the 58th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars, which is recognizing 161 high school seniors for their accomplishments in academics, the arts and Career and Technical Education (CTE) fields.

In the past 24 years, Blue Valley North High School has had 11 U.S. Presidential Scholars. However, MacKenzie, 18, is the first and only Blue Valley student to be awarded the U.S. Presidential Scholar in Arts designation. These scholars demonstrate academic achievement and extraordinary talent in the visual, creative or performing arts.

“I am so grateful and proud to be a part of so many talented scholars,” MacKenzie said. “This achievement would not be possible without the support of my amazing teachers, friends and family.”

In the fall, MacKenzie plans to attend the University of Southern California, Thornton School of Music to study music production. She has released three extended play music albums and plans to release a fourth this summer.

Fort Scott senior Gugnani, 18, is the son of Sonia and P.K. Gugnani. He has a twin brother, Neil, and a 13-year-old brother, Raj. Gugnani’s hobbies include playing the electric guitar, listening to music and playing video games. He is involved in debate and forensics, Scholar’s Bowl, Future Business Leaders of America and the National Honor Society.

“After graduating, I plan to attend the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine for the six-year bachelor of arts/doctor of medicine program, in which I will complete my undergraduate and medical degree in six years,” Gugnani said.

He was recently recognized for receiving a perfect score of 36 on the ACT, a standardized test used for college admissions. Gugnani is the first Fort Scott High School student in history to receive a perfect score on the ACT. He also is a 2022 Kansas Governor’s Scholar.

Yadav, 18, is the daughter of Ashish and Vandana Yadav. She was recently announced as a 2022 National Merit Scholarship finalist, and she also is a 2022 Kansas Governor’s Scholar.

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 evidence of community service, leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.

Created in 1864, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored more than 7,900 of the nation’s top-performing students. The program expanded in 1979 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, literacy and performing arts. In 2015, the program was once again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in CTE fields.

Kansas other six semifinalists are:

  • Christopher C. Henry, Wichita Collegiate School.
  • Evanna Dominic, Blue Valley Southwest High School, Blue Valley USD 229, U.S Presidential Scholar in CTE.
  • Younggi D. Moon, Blue Valley North High School, Blue Valley USD 229.
  • Nicole Patrao, Olathe South High School, Olathe USD 233, U.S Presidential Scholar in CTE.
  • Ann Pomeroy, Newton High School, Newton USD 373, U.S Presidential Scholar in CTE.
  • Megan C. Bogner, Shawnee Mission South High School, Shawnee Mission USD 512.

The Presidential Scholars Class of 2022 will be recognized for their outstanding achievement this summer with an online recognition program, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

A complete list of 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholars is available at http://www.ed.gov/psp

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