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Elmbrook students in running to be Presidential Scholars

Feb. 13, 2014

Four high school seniors from the Elmbrook School District will join more than 3,000 other candidates for the 2014 Presidential Scholars Program.

The program, established in 1964, seeks to recognize and honor the nation's most distinguished graduating seniors. A majority of the students are selected on the basis of academic achievement — such as SAT and ACT test scores — while other students are recognized for their artistic ability through the National YoungArts Foundation.

Seniors Deepti Ajjampore and Nikita Sood from Brookfield Central High School were selected for the program; Brookfield East High School seniors Katherine Hartman and Kathryn Horneffer were also chosen to compete.

"Elmbrook has a steady tradition of having Presidential Scholar candidates," said Elyce Moschella, programming coordinator for the Brookfield Central Gifted and Talented and Youth Options program. "I don't have data going back more than 10 years, but … in the last 10 years either East or Central or both have had at least one candidate nominee.

"In some years, we have had several."

The Commission on Presidential Scholars, a distinguished panel of educators, will review the submissions, including the Elmbrook students, and select 560 semifinalists in early April.

The commission will then select up to 141 seniors as Presidential Scholars, with each given an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., during the National Recognition Weekend in June.

"(The Presidential Scholars Program) is not a scholarship program; it's an honor or recognition," Moschella said. "Those students who achieve candidate status and receive an invitation are great role models for others — those students themselves are very personally committed to excellence and need no outside encouragement. They exhibit exemplary and even academic performance and co-curricular leadership during each year of high school."

Students who are chosen as Presidential Scholars are given the opportunity to recognize their most influential educators, who will then be invited to the award ceremony sponsored by the White House.

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