HSPVA students named Presidential Scholars

May 5, 2008 11:19:28 AM PDT
Two students from HISD's High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) have just been named Presidential Scholars for 2008. Jamye M. Grant and Grantham H. Coleman are both 17-year-old seniors and are both theatre students. Of the three million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 3,000 candidates qualified as potential Presidential Scholars on the basis of outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, or by nomination through the nationwide youngARTS? competition conducted by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. Only 139 students were named Presidential Scholars, 20 of those from fine arts schools.

Only five students from Texas were named Presidential Scholars. In addition to the two students from HSPVA, there were two students from two private schools in Dallas and a student from a public school in Austin.

Principal Herb Karpicke said, "Recently we were honored for the fifth time as a GRAMMY Signature School and now this. HSPVA is the only school in the country that can boast TWO Presidential Scholars this year and over the history of the program HSPVA has had more Presidential Scholars in the performing and visual arts than any other high school in the nation. I am extremely proud of these students and of the national accolades our school continues to receive. It speaks volumes about the quality of our staff, our programs and our students."

The Presidential Scholars will be honored for their accomplishments in Washington D.C., from June 21-24. In addition, each Presidential Scholar will be allowed to select his or her most inspiring and challenging teacher to travel to Washington, D.C., to receive a Teacher Recognition Award from the U.S. Department of Education and to participate in the recognition events.

U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, who is herself a product of HISD schools, said "The 2008 Presidential Scholars shine a bright hope on the future of our country. Not only have these young graduates demonstrated exemplary discipline and achievement in academics and the arts, but they have also exhibited exceptional leadership and service to their local communities. Their commitment to excellence and contributions to society reflect the character and innovation necessary to keep America both competitive economically and collaborative in overcoming challenges within our global community."

The Presidential Scholars program was created in 1964 to honor academic achievement and was expanded in 1979 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the arts. The program has honored more than 5,000 of the nation's top students over its history. The 139 Presidential Scholars for 2008 include one young man and one young woman from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and students from families of U.S. citizens living abroad. This also includes 15 chosen at-large and 20 Presidential Scholars in the Arts. A 29-member Commission on Presidential Scholars appointed by President Bush selected the scholars based on their academic success, artistic excellence, community service, leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.

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