Two Twin Cities students are among an elite group of high school seniors named as this year's class of U.S. Presidential Scholars.
Anika Ahluwalia, who attends Wayzata High School, and Michael Pak, of Mounds View High School, are among 161 students selected because of their top scores on the ACT or SAT college entrance exams, performance in academics, the arts and technical studies, community service and leadership efforts. The group accounts for a small portion of the 5,200 students who qualified for the award — and an even smaller sliver of the approximately 3.6 million students expected to graduate from high school this year.
Two students are selected from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, while others are chosen as at-large scholars or for specific recognition in the arts or career and technical education.
Recipients of the award are selected by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars and receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., where they meet with government officials and leaders in education, science and the arts. The scholars will be recognized in a June 23 ceremony, where they'll each receive a Presidential Scholar Medallion.
"Their hard work and commitment to excellence, no matter what challenge they are tackling, will serve them well throughout their lifelong learning journeys," U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a statement. "I have no doubt that many of tomorrow's leaders are among this year's class of Scholars."