U.S. Presidential Scholars Program Recognizes Missouri Standouts


Two Missouri high school students were selected as members of the 52nd class of U.S. Presidential Scholars, as announced by U.S. Secretary of Education John King.

Grant Pace (Parkville; Park Hill South High School, Riverside) and Faith Wen (Strafford; Strafford R-VI High School, Strafford) received top honors as Missouri state honorees.  The 2016 U.S. Presidential 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.

Nine other Missouri high school students were selected as semifinalists, including:

  • Alexander Beattie, Lake Saint Louis; Timberland High School, Wentzville
  • Alexander Harmata, Columbia; David H. Hickman High School, Columbia
  • Joshua Kazdan, St. Louis; John Burroughs School, St. Louis
  • Olivia Long, St. Louis; John Burroughs School, St. Louis
  • Nina McKee, Fulton; South Callaway R-II High School, Mokane
  • Abbegail Robinson, Vandalia; Van-Far High School, Vandalia
  • Gabrial Shahan, Hurdland; Knox County R-I High School, Edina
  • Omkar Venkatesh, Clayton; Clayton High School, Clayton
  • Derek Wang, Columbia; Columbia-Rock Bridge Senior High School, Columbia

“I am proud to recognize these outstanding seniors for their accomplishments and commitment to their education,” said Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. “These students represent what it means to graduate prepared for college and careers, part of the state’s goals to be a top 10 state for education.”

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established by Executive Order of the President in 1964 to recognize some of the nation’s most distinguished graduating seniors.

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects honored students 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.

A complete listing of 2016 Presidential Scholars is available here.