Maine students Paige E. Brown of Bangor High School and Matthew A. Pisini of Greely High School in Cumberland were among the 160 high school seniors named Wednesday as 2016 U.S. Presidential Scholars.
The announcement by U.S. Secretary of Education John King said the 52nd class of scholars were recognized for accomplishments in academics, the arts and career and technical education fields.
One male and one female are chosen from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and from U.S. families living abroad. Another 15 students are chosen at-large, and 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts and, for the first time, 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in Career and Technical Education were chosen.
Brown of Bangor and Pisini of Cumberland Foreside will be honored at the 2016 ceremony to be held June 19 in Washington, D.C., where each honoree will receive a Presidential Scholar Medallion.
Earlier this year, Brown won a first-place award worth $150,000 in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search competition for her work to improve the water quality of polluted streams.
The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, appointed by President Obama, selects honored scholars 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.
Of the 3 million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 5,600 candidates qualified for the 2016 awards determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, through nominations made by Chief State School Officers, other partner recognition organizations or the National YoungArts Foundation’s nationwide YoungArts competition, according to the press release.
Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored almost 7,000 of the nation’s top-performing students with the prestigious award given to honorees during the annual ceremony in D.C. The program was expanded in 1979 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, literary and performing arts. In 2015, the program was extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields.