ASD students named Presidential Scholars


May 5, 2014


Congratulations to ASD's two Presidential Scholars and the ASD teachers who have had a positive influence on them.

  • Sawyer Birnbaum, West Anchorage High School. Most influential teacher: Janice Strickland, East High School.
  • Sijo Smith, Chugiak High School. Most influential teacher: Ron Lange.


MAY 5, 2014

Contact: Press Office, (202) 401-1576,
Simone Olson, Program Contact, (202) 401-096


141 Students from Across the Country Named 2014 U.S. Presidential Scholars


U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced the 50th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars, recognizing 141 high school seniors for their accomplishments in academics or the arts.


"The extraordinary young men and women being honored for the 50th anniversary of the Presidential Scholars have excelled in their educational, artistic and civic pursuits. They show all of us that when students challenge themselves and commit themselves to excellence, the results can be astounding. These scholars will help move our country forward and will have a lasting impact on their families, communities, and on our society. They represent the potential of all young citizens to lift up America."


The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, appointed by President Obama, selects honored scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals. Of the three million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 3,900 candidates qualified for the 2014 awards determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, and through nominations made by Chief State School Officers or the National YoungArts Foundation's nationwide YoungArts™ competition.


The 2014 U.S. Presidential Scholars are comprised of one young man and one young woman from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and from U.S. families living abroad, as well as 15 chosen at-large and 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts.


Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored more than 6,500 of the nation's top-performing students with the prestigious award given to honorees during the annual ceremony in D.C. The program was expanded in 1979 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, literary and performing arts


The 2014 ceremony will be held June 22, when each honoree will receive a Presidential Scholar Medallion.


A partial list of 2014 U.S. Presidential Scholars follows. See the complete list at

  • AK - Anchorage - Sawyer Birnbaum, West Anchorage High School, Anchorage, AK. Most influential teacher: Janice Strickland, Anchorage, AK.
  • AK - Chugiak - Sijo Smith, Chugiak High School, Eagle River, AK. Most influential teacher: Ron Lange, Eagle River, AK.

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