Gainesville’s Safa Kaleem, from Eastside High School, has been named a 2012 Presidential Scholar and Gainesville’s Carl Henriksen recognized as Most Influential Teacher.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the 48th class of Presidential Scholars, recognizing 141 high school seniors for their accomplishments in academics or the arts.
“Honoring Presidential Scholars is an important celebration of students showing the dedication, creativity and ambition to become future leaders,” Duncan said. “As national, state and local leaders work side by side with principals, teachers, and parents to make our schools better, we can learn from the students all around us whose hard work and accomplishments embody the kind of excellence we want every child to achieve.”
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 three million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 3,300 candidates qualified for the 2012 awards determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, and through nominations made by Chief State School Officers or the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts nationwide YoungArts™ competition.
The 2012 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, as well as 15 chosen at-large and 20 Presidential Scholars in the Arts.
Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored more than 6,000 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. Since 1983, each Presidential Scholar has been offered the opportunity to invite his or her most inspiring and challenging teacher to the annual ceremony where they are honored with a Teacher Recognition Award from the U.S. Department of Education.
The 2012 ceremony will be held June 16, when each honoree will receive a Presidential Scholar Medallion. For a complete list of 2012 U.S. Presidential Scholars, click here.