Special to Iredell Free News

Laurel Gray, a graduating senior at North Iredell High School, has been named one of the 625 semifinalists in the 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. The semifinalists were selected from nearly 6,500 candidates expected to graduate from U.S. high schools in the year 2021.

North Iredell High senior Laurel Gray

Inclusion in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, now in its 57th year, is one of the highest honors bestowed upon graduating high school seniors. Scholars are selected on the basis of their accomplishments in many areas — academic and artistic success, accomplishment in career and technical fields, leadership, strong character and involvement in school and the community.

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964 by Executive Order of the President to recognize some of our nation’s most distinguished graduating seniors for their accomplishments in academics, leadership, and service to school and community. It was expanded in 1979 to recognize students demonstrating exceptional scholarship and talent in the visual, creative, and performing arts. In 2015, the program was expanded once again to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical fields. Annually, up to 161 U.S. Presidential Scholars are chosen from among that year’s senior class, representing excellence in education and the promise of greatness in America’s youth. Each year Scholars are presented with a Presidential Scholars Medallion.

A distinguished panel of educators have reviewed these submissions and selected 625 semifinalists. The Commission on Presidential Scholars, a group of up to 32 eminent citizens appointed by the President, will select the finalists, and the U.S. Department of Education will announce the Scholars in May.

The Presidential Scholars Class of 2021 will be recognized for their outstanding achievements this summer.

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