Kamakin High School senior named US Presidential Scholar

Kamiakin High

TRI-CITIES, Wash. — A Kamiakin High School senior is part of the 56th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Courtjoseph Melang Saunders, a Richland resident, is one of 161 high school seniors nationwide, and only one of four in Washington state.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced the Presidential Scholars from the class of 2020 on Thursday, recognizing them for their accomplishments in academics, the arts and career and technical education fields.

“It is my privilege to congratulate the Presidential Scholars Class of 2020 on their outstanding academic achievement, community service and leadership,” said DeVos. “These exemplary young people have excelled inside the classroom and out. And, while they are facing unprecedented challenges as they graduate from high school into a world that looks much different than it did just a few months ago, their determination, resilience and commitment to excellence will serve them well as they pursue their next steps.”

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic and technical 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 5,300 candidates qualified for the 2020 awards.

Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored over 7,600 of the nation’s top-performing students. 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 again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields.

The Presidential Scholars Class of 2020 will be recognized for their outstanding achievement this summer, as public health circumstances permit.

A complete list of 2020 U.S. Presidential Scholars is available at http://www.ed.gov/psp.