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Two South Dakota High School Seniors Announced As U.S. Presidential Scholars
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U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced the 51st class of U.S. Presidential Scholars, recognizing 141 high school seniors for their accomplishments in academics or the arts. Of the 141 students announced, two are from South Dakota. Alex H. Kimm from Brookings High School Mira E. Yousef from O'Gorman High School in Sioux Falls were selected.

“Presidential Scholars demonstrate the accomplishments that can be made when students challenge themselves, set the highest standards, and commit themselves to excellence,” Duncan said. “These scholars are poised to make their mark on our nation in every field imaginable: the arts and humanities, science and technology, law and medicine, business and finance, education and government—to name a few. Their academic and artistic achievements reflect a sense of purpose that we should seek to instill in all students to prepare them for college, careers, civic responsibilities, and the challenges of today’s job market.”

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, appointed by President Obama, selects honored scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals. Of the three million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 4,300 candidates qualified for the 2015 awards determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, and through nominations made by Chief State School Officers or the National YoungArts Foundation’s nationwide YoungArts™ competition.

The 2015 Scholars are comprised of one young man and one young woman from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and from U.S. families living abroad, as well as 15 chosen at-large and 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts.  

Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored almost 7,000 of the nation’s top-performing students with the prestigious award given to honorees during the annual ceremony in D.C. The program was expanded in 1979 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, literary and performing arts

The 2015 ceremony will be held June 21, when each honoree will receive a Presidential Scholar Medallion.

Here is the complete list of all 141 Presidential Scholar receipients:

AK - Fairbanks - Grant W. Ackerman, West Valley High School, Fairbanks, AK. Most influential teacher: Chris Greenfield-Pastro, Fairbanks, AK.

AK - Wasilla - Ariel E. Hasse, MAT-SU Career and Technical High School, Wasilla, AK. Most influential teacher: Barbara Petukh, Palmer, AK.

*AL - Adamsville - Adriane  Tharp, Alabama School of Fine Arts, Birmingham, AL. Most influential teacher: Jason Slatton, Birmingham, AL.

AL - Huntsville - James W. Brahm, Virgil I. Grissom High School, Huntsville, AL. Most influential teacher: Christine Sutton, Huntsville, AL.

AL - Mobile - Caroline E. Scott, St. Paul's Episcopal School, Mobile, AL. Most influential teacher: Julie Albrecht, Mobile, AL.

AR - Conway - Erin K. McShane, Conway High School West, Conway, AR. Most influential teacher: Aaron Stutz, Middleton, WI.

AR - Little Rock - Alan B. May, Episcopal Collegiate School, Little Rock, AR. Most influential teacher: Christine Marquis, Little Rock, AR.

AZ - Florence - Ryan D. Arbon, Poston Butte High School, Florence, AZ. Most influential teacher: Alise Kraus, Florence, AZ.

AZ - Morenci - Alejandra J. Fuentes, Morenci High School, Morenci, AZ. Most influential teacher: Veronica Morales, Morenci, AZ.

AZ - Tempe - Alex H. Stoken, Mountain Pointe High School, Phoenix, AZ. Most influential teacher: Scott Segerson, Gilbert, AZ.

CA - El Cajon - Shayan  Afshar, Granite Hills High School, El Cajon, CA. Most influential teacher: Alexandra Grant, El Cajon, CA.

CA - Foster City - Angela  Zhang, San Mateo High School, San Mateo, CA. Most influential teacher: Jimmy Ikeda, San Mateo, CA.

*CA - Los Angeles - Adam J. Bernstein, Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, Los Angeles, CA. Most influential teacher: Barry Pohlmann, Los Angeles, CA.

*CA - Manhattan Beach - Julia M. McDermott, Mira Costa High School, Manhattan Beach, CA. Most influential teacher: William Brown, Pasadena, CA.

CA - Oakland - Shizhou  Chen, Oakland Charter High School, Oakland, CA. Most influential teacher: Ben Orlin, Birmingham, West Midlands, England.

CA - Rancho Palos Verdes - Braeden C. Benedict, Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, Rolling Hills Estates, CA. Most influential teacher: Peter Starodub, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. 

*CA - Rancho Palos Verdes - Jennifer Y. Choi, Palos Verdes High School, Palos Verdes Estates, CA. Most influential teacher: Yoon Seok Yeom, Torrance, CA.

*CA - San Clemente - Antonia J. Matias-Bell, Orange County High School of the Arts, Santa Ana, CA. Most influential teacher: Joshua Wood, Lake Forest, CA.

CA - San Diego - Melinda H. Wang, Torrey Pines High School, Encinitas, CA. Most influential teacher: Zakia Chowdhury, Encinitas, CA.

CA - Sherman Oaks - Albert M. Choi, Harvard-Westlake School, North Hollywood, CA. Most influential teacher: Jeremy Michaelson, Los Angeles, CA.

CO - Boulder - Samuel D. Scheeres, Fairview High School, Boulder, CO. Most influential teacher: Travis Keller, Erie, CO.

CO - Evans - Andra L. Turner, Greeley West High School, Greeley, CO. Most influential teacher: Elizabeth Dent, Greeley, CO.

CT - Old Lyme - Eric J. Pan, Lyme-Old Lyme High School, Old Lyme, CT. Most influential teacher: Glenn Elliott, Niantic, CT.

CT - Wilton - Evaline  Xie, Wilton High School, Wilton, CT. Most influential teacher: David Delzell, Stamford, CT.

DC - Washington - Maxwell T. Kanefield, Maret School, Washington, DC. Most influential teacher: Lynn Levinson, Washington, DC.

DC - Washington - Sophia L. Pink, Washington International School, Washington, DC. Most influential teacher: Steve Hoare, Washington, DC.

DE - Greenville - Rohith S. Venkataraman, Charter School of Wilmington, Wilmington, DE. Most influential teacher: David Brown, Wilmington, DE.

DE - Newark - Christina  Stiebris, Charter School of Wilmington, Wilmington, DE. Most influential teacher: Cheryl Potocki, Newark, DE.

FL - Gainesville - Megan M. Mathew, Eastside High School, Gainesville, FL. Most influential teacher: Ann Nichols, Gainesville, FL.

FL - Jacksonville - Praneet  Polineni, Stanton College Preparatory School, Jacksonville, FL. Most influential teacher: Erika Migues, Jacksonville, FL.

*FL - Miami - Mark M. Fleuridor, Miami Arts Charter School, Miami, FL. Most influential teacher: Andrea Preston, Miami, FL.

FL - St. Petersburg - Jackson S. Willis, Shorecrest Preparatory School, St. Petersburg, FL. Most influential teacher: David Field, St. Petersburg, FL.

*FL - Wellington - Daniela A. O'Neil, Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, West Palm Beach, FL. Most influential teacher: Jan Hanniford, West Palm Beach, FL.

GA - Atlanta - Myriam B. Shehata, Marist School, Atlanta, GA. Most influential teacher: Eric Heintz, Norcross, GA.

GA - Grayson - Yash P. Shirsath, Grayson High School, Loganville, GA. Most influential teacher: Mary Stimmel, Lawrenceville, GA.

GA - Marietta - Austin K. Wang, George Walton High School, Marietta, GA. Most influential teacher: Alan Farnsworth, Milton, GA.

HI - Hana - Jack V. Wolfgramm, Wolfgramm Home School, Hana, HI. Most influential teacher: Victoria Wolfgramm, Hana, HI.

HI - Kaneohe - Sierra K. Hirayama, Kamehameha High School-Kapalama, Honolulu, HI. Most influential teacher: Darren Kamalu, Honolulu, HI.

IA - Cedar Rapids - Laurel I. Dusek, George Washington High School, Cedar Rapids, IA. Most influential teacher: Terry Kahler, Cedar Rapids, IA.

IA - Coralville - Edward C. Yao, West High School, Iowa City, IA. Most influential teacher: Darci Witthoft, Iowa City, IA.

ID - Boise - William  Min, Centennial High School, Boise, ID. Most influential teacher: Danny Herdegen, Boise, ID.

ID - Boise - Sienna R. White, Boise High School, Boise, ID. Most influential teacher: Sharon Hanson, Boise, ID.

IL - Naperville - Siqi  Liu, Naperville Central High School, Naperville, IL. Most influential teacher: Sarah Albiniak, Naperville, IL.

IL - Naperville - Joseph A. Popelka, Benet Academy, Lisle, IL. Most influential teacher: Jennifer Gimmell, Lisle, IL.

IN - Fort Wayne - Beresford L. Clarke, Homestead High School, Fort Wayne, IN. Most influential teacher: James Schmidt, New Haven, IN.

IN - Indianapolis - Anat P. Berday-Sacks, Ida Crown Jewish Academy, Chicago, IL. Most influential teacher: Sheri Goldstein, Skokie, IL.

KS - Lenexa - Clara T. Ma, Shawnee Mission East High School, Shawnee Mission, KS. Most influential teacher: Christopher Burrows, Lenexa, KS.

KS - Stilwell - Luke G. Conners, Blue Valley High School, Stilwell, KS. Most influential teacher: Adam Wade, Stilwell, KS.

KY - Lexington - Taylor M. Bagley, Lafayette Senior High School, Lexington, KY. Most influential teacher: Zachary Matson, Lexington, KY.

KY - Lexington - Dimitri D. Leggas, Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky, Bowling Green, KY. Most influential teacher: Patricia Minter, Bowling Green, KY. 

KY - Lexington - Alice Y. Li, Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, Lexington, KY. Most influential teacher: Heidi Anderson, Lexington, KY.

LA - Baton Rouge - Celeste M. Runnels, Baton Rouge Magnet High School, Baton Rouge, LA. Most influential teacher: Rikki Willis, Baton Rouge, LA.

LA - Mandeville - Ryan J. Keller, The Saint Paul's School, Covington, LA. Most influential teacher: Pamela Cullen, Covington, LA.

MA - Bedford - Andrea  Ning, Bedford High School, Bedford, MA. Most influential teacher: Justine Flora, Newton, MA.

MA - Longmeadow - Andrew S. Metz, Longmeadow High School, Longmeadow, MA. Most influential teacher: Mary Ellen Miller, Springfield, MA.

*MA - Medford - Claire E. Dickson, Dickson Home School, Medford, MA. Most influential teacher: Michael McLaughlin, Medford, MA.

MD - Chevy Chase - Patrick  Cha, Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, Bethesda, MD. Most influential teacher: David Lopilato, Bethesda, MD.

MD - Clarksburg - Emily  Yang, Richard Montgomery High School, Rockville, MD. Most influential teacher: Susan Leckie, Rockville, MD.

*MD - Olney - Charles F. Lilley, Dematha Catholic High School for Boys, Hyattsville, MD. Most influential teacher: Reginald Jackson, Wheaton, MD.

ME - Bangor - Hannah J. Rubin, Bangor High School, Bangor, ME. Most influential teacher: Jennifer Page, Bangor, ME.

ME - Phippsburg - Kai-Isaak E. Ellers, Ellers Home School, Phippsburg, ME. Most influential teacher: Michael King, Brunswick, ME.

MI - Rochester Hills - Samuel E. Garfinkle, Rochester Adams High School, Rochester Hills, MI. Most influential teacher: Janie Barner, Rochester Hills, MI.

MI - Saint Joseph - Jesper W. Ke, St. Joseph Public High School, St. Joseph, MI. Most influential teacher: Dave Foster, St. Joseph, MI.

MI - Troy - Ellen  Zhang, Troy High School, Troy, MI. Most influential teacher: Bill Hevel, Sterling Heights, MI.

MN - Minneapolis - Yueqi  Ren, Southwest High School, Minneapolis, MN. Most influential teacher: Sherwood Bergseid, Minneapolis, MN.

MN - Shoreview - Varun R. Mangalick, Mounds View High School, Arden Hills, MN. Most influential teacher: Dan Butler, Arden Hills, MN.

MO - Columbia - Michele X. Yang, Columbia-Rock Bridge Senior High School, Columbia, MO. Most influential teacher: Kathryn Fishman-Weaver, Columbia, MO.

MO - Saint Louis - Ryan C. Thornton, John Burroughs School, St. Louis, MO. Most influential teacher: Sandra Mueller, St. Charles, MO.

MS - Ridgeland - Meaghan A. Lee, St. Andrew's Episcopal School, Ridgeland, MS. Most influential teacher: Roscoe Stribling, Brandon, MS.

MS - Vicksburg - Luke B. Eckstein, St. Aloysius High School, Vicksburg, MS. Most influential teacher: Dawn Meeks, Vicksburg, MS.

MT - Billings - Magnus H. Johnson, Skyview High School, Billings, MT. Most influential teacher: Sean Joyce, Billings, MT.

MT - Helena - Amanda G. Morrison, St. Paul's School, Concord, NH. Most influential teacher: Lindsey Barnes, Helena, MT.

NC - Fayetteville - William A. Willis IIIayetteville Academy, Fayetteville, NC. Most influential teacher: Maria Márquez, Fayetteville, NC.

NC - Pfafftown - Margaret M. Bertoni, The North Carolina School of Science & Mathematics, Durham, NC. Most influential teacher: Ryan Pietropaolo, Durham, NC.

ND - Fargo - Carl F. Denton, North High School, Fargo, ND. Most influential teacher: Daniel Italiano, Fargo, ND.

ND - Wyndmere - Samantha M. Goerger, Wyndmere Public School, Wyndmere, ND. Most influential teacher: Cara Cody-Braun, Wyndmere, ND.

NE - Lincoln - Makayla M. Haussler, Lincoln Southwest High School, Lincoln, NE. Most influential teacher: Tracy Piper, Lincoln, NE.

NE - Omaha - Caravaggio D. Caniglia, Brownell-Talbot School, Omaha, NE. Most influential teacher: Mark Smith, Omaha, NE.

NH - Bedford - Stacie  Lin, Bedford High School, Bedford, NH. Most influential teacher: Laura Dreyer, Bedford, NH.

NH - Charlestown - Thomas J. Pilvelait, Fall Mountain Regional High School, Langdon, NH. Most influential teacher: Sarah Eaton, Acworth, NH.

NJ - E Brunswick - Shravan  Balaji, East Brunswick High School, East Brunswick, NJ. Most influential teacher: Alan Brodman, East Brunswick, NJ.

*NJ - Elizabeth - Anagha  Prasanna, Academy for Allied Health Sciences, Scotch Plains, NJ. Most influential teacher: Suba Parmar, Scotch Plains, NJ.

*NJ - Livingston - Christina  Qiu, Livingston High School, Livingston, NJ. Most influential teacher: Susan Rothbard, Fairfield, NJ.

*NJ - Livingston - Oriana  Tang, Livingston High School, Livingston, NJ. Most influential teacher: Jaimee Mirsky, Montclair, NJ.

*NJ - Oakland - Sydney J. Lee, Keystone National High School, Bloomington, PA. Most influential teacher: Sophie Shao, New York City, NY.

*NJ - Princeton - Victoria  Gebert, Princeton High School, Princeton, NJ. Most influential teacher: Arthur Seidenberg, Richmond, VA.

NJ - Ramsey - Sabrina R. Casavechia, Ramsey High School, Ramsey, NJ. Most influential teacher: Christopher Frangione, Mahwah, NJ.

NJ - Westfield - Jorge A. Ledesma, Westfield High School, Westfield, NJ. Most influential teacher: Valentino Scipioni, Westfield, NJ.

NM - Belen - Abel M. Romero, Amy Biehl High School, Albuquerque, NM. Most influential teacher: Thomas Bergan, Albuquerque, NM.

NM - Las Cruces - Sophia A. Sánchez-Maes, Mayfield High School, Las Cruces, NM. Most influential teacher: Michael Gaume, Las Cruces, NM.

NV - Las Vegas - Arbab  Khalid, Coral Academy of Science Las Vegas, Henderson, NV. Most influential teacher: Hikmet Erdogan, Henderson, NV.

NV - Reno - Grace I. Hong, Davidson Academy of Nevada, Reno, NV. Most influential teacher: Alanna Simmons, Moab, UT.

*NY - Brooklyn - Dominique  Thorne, Professional Performing Arts School, New York, NY. Most influential teacher: Allison Talis, New York, NY.

NY - New York - Chloe  Brooks, The Brearley School, New York, NY. Most influential teacher: Katherine Swett, New York City, NY.

NY - New York - Philip J. Clark, The Dalton School, New York, NY. Most influential teacher: Sol Gaitan, New York, NY.

*NY - New York - Javier L. Spivey, Fiorello H. Laguardia High School of Music, Art, and Performing Arts, New York, NY. Most influential teacher: Harry Shifman, New York, NY. 

OH - Dublin - Linda  Qin, Dublin Jerome High School, Dublin, OH. Most influential teacher: Michael Castiglione, Lewis Center, OH.

*OH - Harrison - Oonagh B. Davis, Interlochen Arts Academy, Interlochen, MI. Most influential teacher: Melinda Ronayne, Traverse City, MI.

OH - Lancaster - Jaydeep  Singh, Lancaster High School, Lancaster, OH. Most influential teacher: Joe DiDomenico, Lancaster, OH.

OK - Edmond - Abigale G. White, Deer Creek High School, Edmond, OK. Most influential teacher: Shane Martin, Edmond, OK.

OK - Norman - Dylan H. Dawson, Norman High School North, Norman, OK. Most influential teacher: Jim Ryan, Norman, OK.

OK - Tulsa - Duncan M. Carson, Booker T. Washington High School, Tulsa, OK. Most influential teacher: John Waldron, Tulsa, OK.

OR - Happy Valley - Weiyi  Zhou, Clackamas High School, Milwaukie, OR. Most influential teacher: Leslie Hunter, Milwaukie, OR.

OR - Portland - Uma S. Doshi, Jesuit High School, Portland, OR. Most influential teacher: John Gorman, Beaverton, OR.

PA - Blue Bell - Andrew  Ge, Wissahickon High School, Ambler, PA. Most influential teacher: Christopher McDaniels, Ambler, PA.

PA - Bryn Mawr - Seung Yeon  Seo, Radnor High School, Radnor, PA. Most influential teacher: Jennifer O'Rourke, Radnor, PA.

*PA - Haverford - Sang Bin  Park, Harriton High School, Rosemont, PA. Most influential teacher: Sieun Lin, New York, NY.

PR - Gurabo - Nirvana K. Dominguez Singh, St. John's School, San Juan, PR. Most influential teacher: David Henner, San Juan, PR.

PR - San Juan - Cristobal E. Salamone, Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola, Rio Piedras, PR. Most influential teacher: Marta Almeida, Toa Alta, PR.

RI - Pawtucket - Victoria E. Araujo, Charles E. Shea High School, Pawtucket, RI. Most influential teacher: Grace Malkasian, Pawtucket, RI.

RI - West Kingston - Joshua I. Beck, South Kingstown High School, Wakefield, RI. Most influential teacher: Jeffrey Johnson, Wakefield, RI.

SC - Greer - Prateek C. Shah, Southside High School, Greenville, SC. Most influential teacher: Brian Corbett, Simpsonville, SC.

SC - Lexington - Qiang  Zhang, River Bluff High School, Lexington, KY. Most influential teacher: Rachel Nelson, Lexington, SC.

SC - Mount Pleasant - Valerie C. Sacha, Academic Magnet High School, North Charleston, SC. Most influential teacher: Sullivan Johnston, North Charleston, SC.

SD - Brookings - Alex H. Kimn, Brookings High School, Brookings, SD. Most influential teacher: Richard Ganci, Brookings, SD.

SD - Sioux Falls - Mira E. Yousef, O'Gorman High School, Sioux Falls, SD. Most influential teacher: Ken Lindemann, Sioux Falls, SD.

TN - Brentwood - Gene X. Li, Ravenwood High School, Brentwood, TN. Most influential teacher: Josh Landen, MURFREESBORO, TN.

TN - Collierville - Richard L. Ouyang, Memphis University School, Memphis, TN. Most influential teacher: Steve Gadbois, Memphis, TN.

TN - Nashville - Nhung  Hoang, John Overton Comprehensive High School, Nashville, TN. Most influential teacher: Jonathan Creamer, Nashville, TN.

TN - Nolensville - Justin W. Jeter, HomeLife Academy, Jackson, TN. Most influential teacher: Barbara Jeter, Nolensville, TN.

TX - Houston - Denise J. Kwong, Clear Lake High School, Houston, TX. Most influential teacher: Susan Heep, Houston, TX.

TX - Laredo - Ricardo J. Barrientos, United High School, Laredo, TX. Most influential teacher: B. Cristina Trevino, Laredo, TX.

TX - Plano - Elizabeth W. Tian, Plano West Senior High School, Plano, TX. Most influential teacher: Vivian Zhong, Plano, TX.

*UT - Orem - Brianna  Ray, Timpanogos High School, Orem, UT. Most influential teacher: Anjanette Mickelsen, West Jordan, UT.

UT - Salt Lake City - Natalya R. Ritter, Rowland Hall-St Mark's School, Salt Lake City, UT. Most influential teacher: Doug Wortham, Salt Lake City, UT.

UT - Sandy - Calvin H. Yu, Hillcrest High School, Midvale, UT. Most influential teacher: Mark Doherty, Midvale, UT.

VA - Alexandria - Malik S. Jabati, Groton School, Groton, MA. Most influential teacher: Timothy Reed, Groton, MA.

*VA - McLean - Kevin J. Broom II, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology, Alexandria, VA. Most influential teacher: Robyn Hooker, Fredericksburg, VA. 

VA - Mclean - Anna V. Venetianer, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology, Alexandria, VA. Most influential teacher: Mark Hannum, Alexandria, VA.

VT - Craftsbury Common - Mael  Le Scouezec, Craftsbury Academy, Craftsbury Cmn, VT. Most influential teacher: Rick Williams, Lyndonville, VT.

VT - Waitsfield - Charlotte C. Randall, Harwood Union High School, Moretown, VT. Most influential teacher: Ann Beattie, Waterbury Center, VT.

WA - Bellevue - Alexander K. McKeehan-Boulton, Interlake High School, Bellevue, WA. Most influential teacher: Paula Fraser, Bellevue, WA.

WA - Seattle - Serena  Xu, Lakeside School, Seattle, WA. Most influential teacher: Brad Hawkins, Seattle, WA.

WI - De Pere - Nicholas V. Ngo, De Pere High School, De Pere, WI. Most influential teacher: Becky Hawley, Appleton, WI.

WI - Milwaukee - Alethia M. Tilford, Ronald Reagan College Preparatory High School, Milwaukee, WI. Most influential teacher: Stacy Knetter, Milwaukee, WI.

WV - Clarksburg - Kelsey D. Lantz, Robert C. Byrd High School, Clarksburg, WV. Most influential teacher: Greg Phillips, Clarksburg, WV.

WV - Daniels - Josef C. Heller, Shady Spring High School, Shady Spring, WV. Most influential teacher: Elizabeth Hegele, Shady Spring, WV.

WY - Laramie - Mrudhula  Baskaran, Laramie High School, Laramie, WY. Most influential teacher: Paul Street, Laramie, WY.

WY - Sheridan - Lachlan P. Brennan, Sheridan High School, Sheridan, WY. Most influential teacher: Jeanne Hackman, Sheridan, WY.

Americans Abroad - Christiansted - Sojourna A. Ferguson, St. Croix Educational Complex, Christiansted, VI. Most influential teacher: Tanya Nichols, Christiansted, VI. 

Americans Abroad - St. Thomas - Je'Quan A. Dias-Hines, Ivanna Eudora Kean High School, St. Thomas, VI. Most influential teacher: Eddy Charles, St. Croix, VI.