Rylan Gonzalez, a graduating senior at Palm Beach Gardens High School and a resident of Royal Palm Beach, has been named one of 625 semifinalists in the 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. The semifinalists were selected from nearly 6,500 candidates expected to graduate from U.S. high schools this year.
Inclusion in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, now in its 57th year, is one of the highest honors bestowed upon graduating high school seniors. Scholars are selected on the basis of their accomplishments in many areas — academic and artistic success, accomplishment in career and technical fields, leadership, strong character and involvement in school and the community.
The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964 by an executive order to recognize some of the nation’s most distinguished graduating seniors for their accomplishments in academics, leadership and service to school and community. It was expanded in 1979 to recognize students demonstrating exceptional scholarship and talent in the visual, creative and performing arts. In 2015, the program was expanded once again to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical fields.
Annually, up to 161 U.S. Presidential Scholars are chosen from among that year’s senior class, representing excellence in education and the promise of greatness in America’s youth. Each year, scholars are presented with a Presidential Scholars Medallion. A distinguished panel of educators have reviewed these submissions and selected 625 semifinalists. The Commission on Presidential Scholars will select the finalists, and the U.S. Department of Education will announce the scholars this month. The Presidential Scholars Class of 2021 will be recognized for their outstanding achievements this summer.