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Two Kansas students named 2020 Presidential Scholars

Posted: May 22, 2020
Categories: KSDE
Author: Ann Bush

Five other students named semifinalists

Two Kansas students have been named 2020 U.S. Presidential Scholars by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars.

There were seven Kansas students selected as semifinalists for the 2020 Presidential Scholars Program. From that list, two students were named Presidential Scholars – Eddie Dai, who was a senior at Olathe North High School, Olathe Unified School 233, and Bridget Rose Schippers, who was a senior at St. James Academy in Olathe.

Dai and Schippers are part of the 56th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars, which recognized 161 high school seniors for their accomplishments in academics, the arts and Career and Technical Education (CTE) fields.

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.

The 2020 U.S. Presidential Scholars are comprised of one young man and one young woman from each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and U.S. families living abroad. There also are 15 students chosen at-large, as well as 20 scholars in the arts and 20 scholars in CTE.

Created in 1864, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored more than 7,600 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.

The 56th Presidential Scholars class will be recognized for their outstanding achievement this summer as public health circumstances permit, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Kansas’ other five semifinalists were:

  • Faris Fadi Bdair, Blue Valley Southwest High School, Blue Valley USD 229.
  • Riley Buss, Jefferson West High School, Jefferson West USD 340.
  • Brett Davis, Saint Thomas Aquinas High School, Overland Park.
  • Ainsley Renee Smith, Sabetha High School, Prairie Hills USD 113.
  • Taylor Weidenhaft, Hays High School, Hays USD 489.

A complete list of the 2020 U.S. Presidential Scholars is available at http://www.ed.gov/psp.

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