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Five students named Presidential Scholars

Wednesday, May 9, 2018


Tom McCarthy, DPI Communications Director, (608) 266-3559

MADISON — State Superintendent Tony Evers today congratulated five Wisconsin students who were named 2018 Presidential Scholars.

“The Presidential Scholars award is one of the highest honors given to high school graduates,” Evers said. “Congratulations to these students and thank you to the teachers and families who supported their success.”

The students are:

  • Charles X. Hua, Middleton, West High School, Madison;
  • Xavier Lightfoot, Milwaukee, Pius XI Catholic High School, Milwaukee;
  • Nabeel J. Quryshi, Mequon, University School of Milwaukee;
  • Julian Rhee, Brookfield, Brookfield East High School; and
  • Sophia F. Sun, Brookfield, Brookfield Central High School.

The 2018 U.S. 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, 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts, and 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in Career and Technical Education. Lightfoot and Rhee were named Presidential Scholars in the Arts. To commemorate their achievement, the Scholars will receive the U.S. Presidential Scholars medallion at a June 24 ceremony sponsored by the White House.

Each scholar named a most influential teacher as part of their application materials. Those educators are: Ronn Blaha, mathematics teacher, Brookfield Central High School; Catherine Burnett, visual art teacher, Pius XI High School in Milwaukee; Dominic Johann-Berkel, English teacher, Madison West High School; Robert Juranitch, science teacher, University School of Milwaukee; and Almita Vamos, music teacher, Music Institute of Chicago.

Created in 1964, the Presidential Scholars Program has honored nearly 7,500 of the nation’s top-performing students. The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects 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 3.6 million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 5,200 candidates qualified for the 2018 awards determined by outstanding performance on the ACT and SAT college admissions exams and through nominations made by Chief State School Officers, other partner recognition organizations, or the National YoungArts Foundation’s nationwide YoungArts competition.

Official Release