Amy Zhou of Scottsdale Prep earns Presidential Scholar award

Amy Zhou (Submitted photo)

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recently named Amy Zhou, a senior at Scottsdale Preparatory Academy, as a 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholar.

Miss Zhou is one of 161 American high school seniors who have demonstrated academic achievement, artistic excellence, technical expertise, leadership, citizenship, service and contribution to their school and community, according to a press release.

“I am incredibly honored to have been chosen among such an elite group of students,” she said in a prepared statement. “This award not only validates my years of hard work and dedication, but testifies to the amazing support I received from my family and teachers throughout high school.”

Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored more than 7,500 of the nation’s top-performing students with the award given to honorees during the annual ceremony in D.C. This year it will be June 23-25.

The 2019 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.

“I want to congratulate this year’s class of Presidential Scholars on their achievement both inside of the classroom and out,” Ms. DeVos said in a prepared statement.

“Their hard work and commitment to excellence, no matter what challenge they are tackling, will serve them well throughout their lifelong learning journeys. I have no doubt that many of tomorrow’s leaders are among this year’s class of Scholars.”

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 5,200 candidates qualified for the 2019 awards determined through outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams.

Scholars are also determined through nominations made by Chief State School Officers, other partner recognition organizations or the National YoungArts Foundation’s nationwide YoungArts program.

The program was expanded in 1979 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, literary and performing arts, a release states.

In 2015, the program was again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields.

Since 1983, each U.S. Presidential Scholar has been offered the opportunity to name his or her most influential teacher. Miss Zhou selected Travis Clement of SPA as her influential teacher.

“Amy has worked so hard throughout her academic career here,” SPA Headmaster Alison Chaney said in a prepared statement. “Teachers like Mr. Clement, are with them every step of the way to help push them to their full potential.”

Scottsdale Preparatory Academy, 16537 N. 92nd St., is a member of the Great Hearts Academies network of prep schools in metro Phoenix. The public charter school has more than 760 students in grades sixth through 12th.

Great Hearts is a nonprofit network of tuition-free public charter schools dedicated to improving education nationwide through classical preparatory K-12 academies.

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