3 Arizona students named US Presidential Scholars

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX (AP) -- Three Arizona students have been named U.S. Presidential Scholars.

They are among 141 high school seniors who demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, artistic excellence, leadership, citizenship, service, and contribution to school and community.

The scholars from Arizona are Anna Han of Arizona Virtual Academy in Phoenix, Rajet Vatsa of Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix and Sarah Sakha of Xavier College Preparatory in Phoenix.

Han lives in Chandler while Vatsa and Sakha both live in Scottsdale.

Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored more than 6,500 of the nation's top-performing students with the prestigious award. It is one of the nation's highest honors for high school students.

Each year, some 3,000 candidates -- about 20 young men and 20 young women from each state, D.C., Puerto Rico and U.S. families living abroad -- make the initial cut based on their SAT and ACT scores.

A review committee pares that list down to 560 semi-finalists.

The Commission on Presidential Scholars, which is comprised of representatives from the fields of education, medicine, law, social services, business and other professions, makes the final selections.

While most of the scholars are chosen on the basis of broad academic achievement, about 20 are selected on the basis of their academic and artistic scholarship in the visual arts, the performing arts, or creative writing.

The U.S. Presidential Scholars will be recognized for their accomplishments in Washington from June 22-25.

"In honoring the U.S. Presidential Scholars, the president of the United States symbolically honors all graduating high school seniors of high potential," reads the U.S. Department of Education Web page about the program.

Since its inception, the program has honored more than 6,000 students.