DES MOINES — Four Iowa high school students have been named to the 59th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars, one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students. The program recognizes up to 161 high school seniors from across the country for their accomplishments in academics, the arts and career and technical education fields.

Iowa’s U.S. Presidential Scholars are:

  • Eshaan S. Chandani, Johnston High School, Johnston
  • Claire Gu, Valley High School, West Des Moines
  • Tejas Kishan Gururaja, Linn-Mar High School, Marion
  • Alaina Marie Whittington, Diagonal Jr-Sr High School, Diagonal

“Congratulations to Eshaan, Claire, Tejas and Alaina for this well-earned and prestigious recognition, which is one of the nation's highest honors for high school students,” said Iowa Department of Education Director Chad Aldis. “Being named a U.S. Presidential Scholar is a testament to their hard work, academic achievement and commitment to service and leadership over the past four years. Iowa is proud to recognize the achievements of these amazing scholars and I look forward to their accomplishments in the years to come.”

Claire, Tejas and Alaina were recognized for their academic success, and Eshaan was honored for his outstanding ability and accomplishments in career and technical education (CTE).

Students are selected based on their academic achievement, artistic and technical excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.

As directed by Presidential Executive Order, the 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 U.S. families living abroad, as well as 15 chosen at-large, 20 scholars in the arts and 20 scholars in career and technical education.

Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored over 8,000 of the nation’s top-performing students. The program was expanded in 1979 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, literary and performing arts. In 2015, the program was again expanded to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields.

The Presidential Scholars Class of 2023 will be recognized for their outstanding achievement this summer with an online recognition program.

A complete list of 2023 U.S. Presidential Scholars is available on the U.S. Department of Education website.

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