DC, Maryland and Virginia high school students named presidential scholars

Students from D.C., Maryland and Virginia are among the 161 high school seniors from across the nation included in this year’s class of U.S. Presidential Scholars.

The students are being recognized for “their accomplishments in academics, the arts, and career and technical education fields,” according to the Education Department.



Scholars from D.C. are Astor Y. Lu and Gemma Lee Maltby, who both attend Sidwell Friends School.

Clarksburg High School’s Sarah Rachel Thomas and Dhruv Bhandarkar Pai, who attends Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, represent Maryland.

Scholars in Virginia are Helen J. Dunn, from Fairfax County’s Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Benjamin Choi, who attends The Potomac School in McLean, and Uma Pillai, who goes to Potomac Falls High School.

Maya Koenig, who attends Washington-Liberty High School in Arlington, and Ayana Ashanti Askew, who attends Booker T. Washington High School in Norfolk, were both named U.S. Presidential Scholars in Arts as well.

“Our 2022 Presidential Scholars represent the best of America, and remind us that when empowered by education, there are no limits to what our young people can achieve,” Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a statement.

The program has honored over 7,900 students, since it was created in 1964. In 2015, the program began recognizing students “who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields” as well, according to the Education Department.

An online recognition program to honor the scholars will be held “this summer,” the Education Department said.

It said more than 5,000 candidates qualified for the this year’s awards, which are determined by “outstanding performance on the College Board SAT or ACT exams or through nominations made by chief state school officers, other partner recognition organizations and YoungArts, the National Foundation for the Advancement of Artists.”

Matt Small

Matt joined WTOP News at the start of 2020, after contributing to Washington’s top news outlet as an Associated Press journalist for nearly 18 years.

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