Dreyfoos School of the Arts student Daniela O’Neil, a dance major from Wellington, has been named as a 2015 U.S. Presidential Scholar.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently announced the 51st class of U.S. Presidential Scholars, recognizing 141 high school seniors for their accomplishments in academics or the arts.
“Presidential Scholars demonstrate the accomplishments that can be made when students challenge themselves, set the highest standards and commit themselves to excellence,” 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. Their 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 challenges of today’s job market.”
The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, appointed by President Barack 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 4,300 candidates qualified for the 2015 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 2015 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 almost 7,000 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 2015 ceremony will be held June 21, when each honoree will receive a Presidential Scholar Medallion.
The Dreyfoos School of the Arts, located in downtown West Palm Beach, continues to be a powerhouse of artistic talent and academically gifted students, this past year ranking #46 in the nation and #5 in the state in U.S. News & World Report’s Best High Schools listing.
ABOVE: Daniela O’Neil