HELENA – Office of Public Instruction (OPI) Superintendent Elsie Arntzen today congratulated six of Montana’s outstanding students who were recently recognized by the United States Department of Education (USED) as semifinalists for the coveted U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. Established in 1964, the program recognizes graduating high school seniors who have demonstrated success in a variety of fields, including academics, the arts, career and technical studies, leadership, and involvement in their communities.
“These six exceptional individuals give all of us hope for Montana’s future,” said Superintendent Arntzen. “For them to be recognized with this tremendous honor after a year of such challenge speaks loudly about their Montana resilience as well as their intelligence. I wish Anna, Claire, John, Cooper, Mason, and Paxson nothing but the best in their bright futures ahead, and I hope they are all selected to participate!”
The semifinalists from Montana are:
- Anna J. Christensen, Flathead High School, Kalispell
- Claire Anne Downing, Helena High School, Helena
- John Cody Gilbert, Hobson Public School, Hobson
- Cooper Knarr, Bozeman High School, Bozeman
- Mason L. Scurry, Bozeman High School, Bozeman
- Paxson Swierc, Hellgate High School, Missoula
According to the USED Commission on Presidential Scholars, Montana’s six semifinalists were selected alongside 619 others nationwide; this was out of 6,500 students identified as candidates for the program. The Commission will select up to 161 of the semifinalists to become U.S. Presidential Scholars; the final list will be announced in mid-May. Recipients are typically honored with a National Recognition Program in Washington, D.C. in June, where they celebrate their achievements and meet with government officials, educators, and other leaders. More information on the program may be found here.
Chris Averill, Communications Director, 406-444-3449