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2 San Diego County Students Named Presidential Scholars


Two San Diego County students were among 141 high school seniors around the nation named to the 51st class of Presidential Scholars Monday by the U.S. Department of Education.

Shayan Afshar of El Cajon, who attends Granite Hills High School, and Melinda Wang of Encinitas, who goes to Torrey Pines High School, are among the students recognized for achievements in academics and the arts.

"Presidential scholars demonstrate the accomplishments that can be made when students challenge themselves, set the highest standards and commit themselves to excellence," Education Secretary Arne Duncan said. "These scholars are poised to make their mark on our nation in every field imaginable — the arts and humanities, science and technology, law and medicine, business and finance, education and government — to name a few."

Duncan said the scholars' academic and artistic achievements reflect "a sense of purpose that we should seek to instill in all students" to prepare them for college, careers, civic responsibilities and the job market.

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, appointed by President Barack Obama, selects

students annually based on academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts — as well as evidence of community service, leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.

The 2015 Scholars are comprised of a male and female from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and from U.S. families living abroad, plus 15 chosen at-large. Another 20 are picked as U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts.

Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored almost 7,000 of the nation's top-performing students, with the prestigious award given to honorees during an annual ceremony in Washington, D.C. The program was expanded in 1979 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, literary and performing arts.

The 2015 ceremony is scheduled for June 21.