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5 Gatton Academy Seniors Recognized as Candidates for 2018 U.S. Presidential Scholar

  • Author: Zack Ryle
  • Author: Tuesday, March 27th, 2018
5 Gatton Academy Seniors Recognized as Candidates for 2018 U.S. Presidential Scholar

5 Gatton Academy seniors learned recently they are candidates for the 2018 United States Presidential Scholars.

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964, by executive order of the President, to recognize and honor some of the nation's most distinguished graduating high school seniors.

The 2018 candidates for the U.S. Presidential Scholar from The Gatton Academy are:

  • Skyler Hornback, son of Jeff and Barbara Hornback, from LaRue County High School.
  • Arjun Kanthawar, son Ashok and Veena Kanthawar, from North Laurel High School.
  • Emma Moore, daughter of Joe and Angela Moore, from Casey County High School.
  • Mary Kirsten Reilly, daughter of Kevin and Ann Marie Reilly, from Central Hardin High School.
  • Selin Sergin, daughter of Mete Sergin and Margaret and Chris Childers, from Pulaski County High School

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars’ review committee selects honored scholars annually based on their academic success, personal characteristics, leadership, and service activities, in addition to the quality and content of their essays. 

Each year, more than 4,000 candidates are identified for the component of the program that focuses on academic achievement and based on having scored exceptionally well on the SAT or the ACT.  Eligible students are U.S. citizens and legal permanent U.S. residents who will graduate or receive their high school diploma between January and August of the current program year and have taken the ACT or SAT assessment on or before October of the previous year.

“These students represent of our state and their communities well,” states Director of The Gatton Academy, Dr. Lynette Breedlove.  “I am proud of the hard work the students do every day, as they seek out opportunities to challenge themselves through in-depth research, study abroad, and challenging curriculum.  These students demonstrate that Kentucky’s investment in the development of students’ talents is being recognized at a national level.”

From here, approximately 800 students will be named semifinalists, and up to 161 students will be recognized in May as Presidential Scholars.  The majority of the Scholars will be selected on the basis of broad academic achievement.  Approximately twenty students are selected on the basis of their academic and artistic scholarship in the visual arts, the performing arts or creative writing. Additionally, approximately twenty additional students will be selected on the basis of their ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields.

If a student is selected as a U.S. Presidential Scholar, they will be honored in Washington, D.C. in June.  During this trip, U.S. Presidential Scholars are guests of the U.S. Department of Education and the Commission and enjoy an expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to meet with government officials, educators, and other accomplished people.  To commemorate their achievement, the Scholars are awarded the U.S. Presidential Scholars medallion at a ceremony sponsored by the White House.

For more information, visit the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.


About The Gatton Academy: Established in 2007, The Gatton Academy is Kentucky’s first residential 2-year program for gifted and talented junior and seniors. The Gatton Academy’s students enroll as juniors and are full-time WKU students pursuing their interests in advanced science, technology, engineering and mathematical careers. The Gatton Academy has been named to the Washington Post’s list of top-performing schools with elite students for nine consecutive years.

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 Last Modified 5/1/18