Missouri Semifinalists Named for U.S. Presidential Scholars Program


Eight Missouri students are being honored as semifinalists in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program for their outstanding academic achievement. The semifinalists are:

  • George N. Bennion, Stark City; East Newton R-6 High School, Granby
  • Jonathan D. Chu, Kansas City; The Pembroke Hill School, Kansas City
  • Najeebah S. Hussain, Columbia; Rock Bridge High School, Columbia
  • Emerson E. Lee, Parkville; Park Hill South High School, Riverside
  • Eric H. Lee, Weldon Spring; Francis Howell High School, St. Charles
  • Elaine C. Reichert, Creve Coeur; Parkway Central High School, Chesterfield
  • Erica L. Swanson, Saint Peters; Francis Howell Central, St. Charles
  • Rujie Yao, Columbia; Rock Bridge High School, Columbia

“The Presidential Scholars Program is one of the highest honors for high school students,” said Commissioner of Education Chris Nicastro. “I commend these outstanding seniors for their commitment to education. We can all be very proud of them.”

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established by Executive Order of the President in 1964 to honor some of the nation’s most distinguished graduating seniors. It was expanded in 1979 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional scholarship and talent in the visual, creative and performing arts. 

Of the nearly 3.2 million graduating seniors in 2014, more than 4,000 were identified as candidates in the program, and 565 semifinalists were chosen from across the country. The semifinalists form the pool from which the 2014 U.S. Presidential Scholars will be selected. The Scholars are chosen based on their accomplishments in many areas: academic and artistic success, leadership, and involvement in school and the community.

A complete list of U.S. semifinalists is available here.