IRMO – Eight Lexington-Richland School District Five seniors have been nominated for one of the highest honors for the graduating class of 2021.
Sasha Bacot (Spring Hill High), Claudia Byun (Dutch Fork High), Natalie Crawford (Dutch Fork High), Paige Maylath (Chapin High), Tyler Overbay (Dutch Fork High), Peter Von Ahn (Spring Hill High), Seungwook Won (Dutch Fork High), and Jessie Zhao (Dutch Fork High) have been named candidates in the 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.
More than 4,500 candidates were selected from nearly 3.6 million students expected to graduate from U.S. high schools in the year 2021. Inclusion in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program is one of the highest honors bestowed upon graduating high school seniors. Scholars are selected on the basis of superior academic and artistic achievements, leadership qualities, strong character and involvement in community and school activities.
“I am extremely honored to represent my school and the state in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program,” said Sasha Bacot. “I owe my achievement to my amazing teachers at Spring Hill High School.” Bacot will be attending Duke University this fall to study biomedical engineering and hopes to pursue a career in medical research or space bioscience.
Spring Hill High School principal Dr. Michael Lofton said that the two students from his school selected for the program are both well-rounded and deserving of this honor. “I am so proud of both Sasha Bacot and Peter “Petey” von Ahn for being named US Presidential Scholars. Not only are they doing extremely well academically, they also serve as role models for their fellow students on “The Spring Hill Way”. They are kind, considerate, servant leaders that are deserving of this recognition. I cannot wait to hear of the great things these two will do in years to come,” Lofton said.
“I am so honored to be nominated for this award,” Claudia Byun said. “It still shocks me that I was chosen out of all the other deserving and hard-working students in our district. It feels like all the work I put into school for the past few years has paid off. I couldn’t be more grateful to have this opportunity to win the award.” Byun hopes to pursue a career in the healthcare industry after the graduates.
“We are so proud of our students that have been named candidates for the US Presidential Scholarship,” Dutch Fork High School Principal Dr. Gerald Gary said. “The support they’ve been given from their teachers and families along with their commitment and hard work has placed them in this position. I am excited to know they are part of the Dutch Fork family today as they prepare to excel in the world of tomorrow.”
Chapin High School’s Paige Maylath said, “I am honored and pleasantly surprised by my selection.” She plans to attend college and pursue a B.S. in chemistry before attending law school.
“The Eagle Family is incredibly proud of Paige in everything she does, and this recognition in particular,” said Chapin High Principal Michael Ames. “To be named as one of the nation’s top students is a remarkable achievement and something she has worked hard for day in and day out. Congratulations Paige, we aRe proud of you!”
Annually, up to 161 U.S. Presidential Scholars are chosen from among that year’s senior class, representing excellence in education and the promise of greatness in America’s youth. If circumstances permit, all scholars will be invited to Washington, D.C. in June for the National Recognition Program, featuring various events and enrichment activities and culminating in the presentation of the Presidential Scholars Medallion during a White House-sponsored ceremony.
“This recognition is one more example of the amazing students that we have in School District Five,” School District Five Chief Instructional Officer Michael Guliano said. “They earned this honor through persistent work and diligence. I celebrate these nine students and their families, and thank the work of our teachers that support these and other students on a daily basis.”
The Commission on Presidential Scholars, a group of up to 32 eminent citizens appointed by the president, will select the finalists, and the U.S. Department of Education will announce the semifinalists in April and the scholars in May.