Joey Sandzimier, a senior a William Byrd High School and the Roanoke Valley Governor’s School, has been nominated for the U.S. Presidential Scholars program. Candidates for this prestigious honor are chosen on the basis of their outstanding scholarship. Each year, up to 161 students are named as Presidential Scholars, one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students.
All graduating high school seniors who have scored exceptionally well on either the SAT or the ACT college admission test during the window that begins in September 2017 and runs through October 2020 are automatically considered for participation.
The U.S. Department of Education looks at test scores in each of the states/jurisdictions. The combined file of scores from the top examinees are then ranked from high to low in each state. The scores associated with the top 20 male examinees and top 20 female examinees are used to identify the candidates in each state. When ties occur in the cut off score, more than 20 persons of that gender are selected in that state.
To be considered further, candidates must submit candidacy materials, including essays, self-assessments, secondary school reports, and transcripts. Candidates are evaluated on their academic achievement, personal characteristics, leadership and service activities, and an analysis of their essay. Application is by invitation only.
In late March, approximately 500 semifinalists are chosen by an independent, national committee of educators convened by the Commission on Presidential Scholars. Six to twenty semifinalists are identified for each state/jurisdiction by the review committee. The number of semifinalists identified per state/jurisdiction is based on a proportionate number of test takers for that state.
In April, the Commission on Presidential Scholars makes the final selection of the students. One young man and one young woman are chosen from each state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and from families of U.S. citizens living abroad. In addition, up to 15 students are chosen at large.
- S. Presidential Scholars are recognized by the President and final candidates are invited to the White House, generally in June.
“We are very proud of his accomplishment of being nominated!” said Sandzimier’s guidance counselor at WBHS, Katie Brendenkamp.
The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964, by executive order of President Lyndon Johnson, to recognize and honor some of our nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors. In 1979, the program was extended by President Jimmy Carter to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative and performing arts. In 2015, the program was again extended by President Barack Obama to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields.
Joey is the son of Jason and Julie Sandzimier.