7 Gatton Academy seniors recognized as candidates for 2020 U.S. Presidential Scholar

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) – Seven Gatton Academy seniors learned recently they are candidates for the 2020 United States Presidential Scholars.

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964, by Executive Order of the President, to recognize and honor some of the nation's most distinguished graduating high school seniors.

The 2020 candidates for the U.S. Presidential Scholar from The Gatton Academy are:

Caitlin Cook (Greenwood High School), daughter of Crystal and Larry Cook, from Bowling Green.

Bailey Knight (Paul L. Dunbar High School), son Julie and Tom Knight, from Lexington.

Logan Mingus (Atherton High School) daughter of Marie and Jay Mingus, from Louisville.

Jerry “J.B.” Morse II (Hopkinsville High School) son of Jerry B. and Kelly S. Morse, from Hopkinsville.

Lukas Negrón (Western Hills High School) son of Angel and Laura Negrón, from Frankfort.

Sarah Pedersen (Corbin High School) daughter of Anne and Paul Pedersen, from Barbourville.

Lydia Speer (Bowling Green High School) daughter of Sandra and Nevil Speer, from Bowling Green.

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars’ review committee selects honored scholars annually based on their academic achievement, personal characteristics, leadership and service activities, in addition to the quality and content of their essays.

Each year, more than 4,500 candidates are identified for the component of the program that focuses on academic achievement and based on having scored exceptionally well on the SAT or the ACT.

Eligible students are U.S. citizens and legal permanent U.S. residents who will graduate or receive their high school diploma between January and August of the current program year and have taken the ACT or SAT assessment on or before October of the previous year.

“We are thrilled to have so many Gatton Academy students recognized by the U.S. Presidential Scholars program. These students are extraordinary in so many ways, well beyond their academic abilities. They are researchers, problem-solvers, musician, and dedicated community volunteers,” states Director of The Gatton Academy Dr. Lynette Breedlove. “They truly representatives of Kentucky’s bright future.”

From here, approximately 600 candidates will be named semifinalists, and up to 161 students will be recognized in May as Presidential Scholars.

The majority of the Scholars will be selected on the basis of broad academic achievement.

Approximately twenty students are selected on the basis of their academic and artistic scholarship in the visual arts, the performing arts, or creative writing.

Additionally, approximately twenty additional students will be selected on the basis of their ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields.

If a student is selected as a U.S. Presidential Scholar, they will be honored in Washington, D.C. in June.

During this trip, U.S. Presidential Scholars are guests of the U.S. Department of Education and the Commission and enjoy an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to meet with government officials, educators, and other accomplished people.

To commemorate their achievement, the Scholars are awarded the U.S. Presidential Scholars medallion at a ceremony sponsored by the White House.

For more information, visit the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.

About The Gatton Academy: Established in 2007, The Gatton Academy is Kentucky’s first two-year residential STEM program for gifted and talented junior and seniors. The Gatton Academy’s students enroll as juniors and are full-time WKU students while pursuing their interests in advanced science, technology, engineering and mathematical careers. The Gatton Academy has been named to The Washington Post’s list of top-performing schools with elite students for nine consecutive years.