Soo Min Chung, a graduating senior at Westfield Senior High School, has been named one of 722 semifinalists in the 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. The semifinalists were selected from nearly 5,100 candidates expected to graduate from U.S. high schools in the year 2017.

Inclusion in the US Presidential Scholars Program, now in its 53rd year, 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.

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964 by Executive Order of the President to recognize some of our nation's most distinguished graduating seniors for their accomplishments in many areas: academic success, leadership, and service to school and community. It was expanded in 1979 to recognize students demonstrating exceptional scholarship and talent in the visual, creative, and performing arts. In 2015, the program was expanded once again to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical fields. 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. All Scholars are invited to Washington, DC in June for the National Recognition Program, featuring various events and enrichment activities and culminating in the presentation of the Presidential Scholar Medallion during a White House-sponsored ceremony.

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A distinguished panel of educators have reviewed these submissions and selected 722 semifinalists. 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 Scholars in May.

Scholars will be invited to Washington, DC, for several days in June to receive the Presidential Scholar Medallion at a recognition ceremony and to participate in events and activities.

For more information about the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, parents and students can call the U.S. Presidential Scholars Office at 507.931.8345, or send an e-mail to PSP@scholarshipamerica.org.