20 of the Nation’s Most Talented Artists, All YoungArts Award Winners, Receive High Honor Bestowed by the President of the United States 

MIAMI, FL (May 10, 2023) –YoungArts congratulates the 59th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars, with special acknowledgement to the 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts (full list below) who are YoungArts award winners and were nominated for the honor by YoungArts. The U.S. Presidential Scholars award—one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students who exemplify academic excellence, leadership qualities and community service—is presented on behalf of the President of the United States and honors up to 161 graduating high school seniors of high potential each year. Students who would like to be considered for U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts must be YoungArts award winners. Applications for the 2024 YoungArts competition will open on June 6, 2023 at youngarts.org/competition.

Clive Chang, President of YoungArts, said, “The 2023 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts represent the next generation of storytellers and changemakers in our country, exemplifying both academic excellence and artistic ingenuity spanning the visual, literary, and performing arts. YoungArts is incredibly proud to celebrate these young artists today and to amplify their unique voices as they grow to become our nation’s most influential cultural ambassadors.”

“U.S. Presidential Scholars have always represented the future of our country and the bright promise it holds. I want each of these remarkable students to know: your passion and intellect, pursuit of excellence, and spirit of service are exactly what our country needs,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “On behalf of President Biden, I am delighted to join your family, friends, and communities in celebrating your accomplishments.  Aim high, share your talents, and continue embracing opportunities to lead as your exciting future unfolds.”

The 2023 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts are:
*Interviews can be facilitated, and images are available upon request.

NameHometown City, StateSchoolYoungArts Winner Discipline, Year
Fallon DernStudio City, CAHarvard-Westlake SchoolFilm, 2023
Zoe DoradoCastro Valley, CACastro Valley High SchoolWriting, 2023
Raisa EffressStudio City, CAHarvard-Westlake SchoolPhotography, 2022
Zakiriya GladneyTucson, AZUniversity High SchoolPhotography, 2023
Georgia GreeneShelby, NCCleveland Innovation AcademyDance, 2023
Vibha JanakiramanWest Chester, PAPA Leadership Charter SchoolClassical Music, 2022
Mira KimAlexandria, VAThomas Jefferson High School for Science and TechnologyClassical Music, 2023
Katherine LiuWellesley, MAWellesley High SchoolClassical Music, 2022
Alejandro LombardStudio City, CAHarvard-Westlake SchoolFilm, 2023
Miranda LuSan Jose, CALeland High SchoolVisual Arts, 2023
Khalil McknightNew Orleans, LANew Orleans Center for Creative ArtsVisual Arts, 2023
Lauren MeiSanta Ana, CAOrange County School of the ArtsTheater, 2022
Zariyah PerryDallas, TXBooker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual ArtsTheater, 2023
George PorteousNew York, NYDalton SchoolTheater, 2023
Sophia RabinNewport Beach, CACorona Del Mar High SchoolVoice, 2023
Cassidy ReigelBaltimore, MDBaltimore School of the ArtsDance, 2023
Christopher ShinCherry Hill, NJCherry Hill High School EastClassical Music, 2023
Gavin TrotmoreBerkeley, CABerkeley High SchoolDesign Arts, 2023
Cole WillisDallas, TXBooker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual ArtsFilm, 2023
Bayan YunisFort Wayne, INCarroll High SchoolPhotography, 2023

Becoming a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts

The first step to becoming a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts is to apply to YoungArts, which is the nominating agency for this honor. To be eligible for the YoungArts program, applicants must be 15–18 years old or in high school grades 10–12. To be further considered for a nomination as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, applicants must be high school seniors and meet all of the U.S. Presidential Scholars requirements. 

YoungArts award winners demonstrating excellence in the performing, visual or literary arts are selected annually through a blind adjudication process. This year, 702 YoungArts award winners were selected. In January, 138 Finalists from across the nation were invited to National YoungArts Week in Miami, where they participated in a week of classes and workshops with internationally renowned artists.

During National YoungArts Week, eligible participants are further evaluated, award levels are determined, and nominations are made for that year’s U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts candidates. After a rigorous selection process, YoungArts nominates 60 candidates for an invitation to apply to the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. Finally, the Commission on Presidential Scholars selects 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts each year.

About U.S. Presidential Scholars

In 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established by executive order of President Lyndon B. Johnson to recognize and honor the nation’s top graduating high school seniors. In 1979, the program was extended to recognize students who demonstrated talent in the visual, creative and performing arts.  In 2015, the program was again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields.

Scholars are selected annually by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, appointed by the President, based on academic achievement, personal characteristics, leadership and service activities, and writing ability. This year, about 5,000 candidates qualified for the 2023 program determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, through nominations made by Chief State School Officers, or other partner recognition programs or YoungArts. 

Since its inception, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored over 8,000 of the nation’s high-performing students. U.S. Presidential Scholars are honored for their accomplishments during the National Recognition Program each June. To commemorate their achievement, the Scholars are awarded the Presidential Scholars Medallion.  

The 161 2023 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, 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts, and 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in Career and Technical Education.

About YoungArts

YoungArts was established in 1981 by Lin and Ted Arison to identify exceptional young artists, amplify their potential, and invest in their creative freedom. YoungArts provides space, funding, mentorship, professional development and community throughout artists’ careers. Entrance into this prestigious organization starts with a highly competitive application for talented artists ages 15–18, or grades 10–12 in the United States, that is judged by esteemed discipline-specific panels of artists through a rigorous blind adjudication process.

For more information, visit  youngarts.org, InstagramYouTubeFacebook, or Twitter.

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2011 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts Medal