Two Missouri high school students were chosen as members of the 54th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars, as announced by the office of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
Michelle Li (Ballwin; Marquette High School, Chesterfield) and Alexander W. Donovan (Chesterfield; Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School, St. Louis) were named as Missouri’s U.S. Presidential Scholars, joining 161 combined representatives from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and U.S. families living abroad.
Nine additional Missouri students were selected as semifinalists:
- Alexis Guffey*, O’Fallon; Liberty High School, Lake St. Louis
- William G. Howlett, Frontenac; John Burroughs School, St. Louis
- Sohan A. Kancherla, St. Louis; St. Louis Priory School, St. Louis
- Charles E. Loitman, St. Louis; Ladue Horton Watkins High School, St. Louis
- Richard Ma, Kirksville; Kirksville Senior High School, Kirksville
- Alan Peng, Fenton; Rockwood Summit High School, Fenton
- Veer Sangha, Columbia; David H. Hickman High School, Columbia
- Emma Swenson, Springfield; Kickapoo High School, Springfield
- Tong Zhao, Clayton; Clayton High School, Clayton
[*] – Candidate for U.S. Presidential Scholar in Career and Technical Education
“Missouri is fortunate to have some of the top students in the nation, and we are proud of all 11 scholars and semifinalists who were selected this year,” said interim Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Roger Dorson. “These students have exciting futures ahead, and we look forward to following their success.”
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.
The program was established by Executive Order of the President in 1964 to recognize some of the nation’s most distinguished graduating seniors. A complete listing of 2018 Presidential Scholars is available here.