Connie Spohn, Assistant Director, April 2020

Over the last month as I compiled information for an article on the 2020 NY CTE PresidentialPresidential Scholars nominees, it was my opportunity to talk to school counselors and CTE teachers about the students nominated as Scholars. There was great excitement and pride about this honor being bestowed on the 5 young men and women from across NYS. The highest accolades were shared for each of these students. I was in awe of their achievements.

What is significant about these students is they are CTE students being recognized for high achievement! They are among a select few from across the country. Only 167 semi-finalists and 20 CTE finalists will be chosen. These students are proficient in their career fields, dedicated to their community and their families. They go to school, work part-time jobs, participate in sports and student organizations. They are leaders and volunteer in their communities, while contributing their time to the schools and programs they are in. Life has not been easy for them and they have been able to achieve despite adversity.

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964. The mission of the program is to recognize and honor outstanding high school seniors and thereby encourage high attainment among all students.

Students are selected based on outstanding scholarship gauged by scores on the SAT or ACT exams. As the program has grown, Scholars candidates have been invited to apply in other ways as well.  Not until 2015, just 5 years ago, was the program extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education. Each year, up to 5 CTE students are nominated by the Commissioner of Education in each state.

By the end of February, the CTE nominees will submit completed applications that will be evaluated on involvement and service (in school and community), leadership and character, writing samples, academic achievements, and discretionary points for extraordinary achievement, heavy workload, family responsibilities, or obstacles overcome. They will await the mid-April semi-finalists announcement and in May the Commission on Presidential Scholars selects and announces the names of the 2020 Final U.S. Presidential Scholars.  In June, the Presidential Scholars will receive the Presidential Scholars Medallion at the National Recognition Program in Washington, DC. We wish each of them luck in the process.

Read more about the Presidential Scholars program and these outstanding CTE students from NY here.