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Wolf Administration Congratulates Three Pennsylvania Students Named 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars

05/17/2021

Harrisburg, PA - The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) applauds three Pennsylvania students for recently being named 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE). The three Pennsylvania students were among 161 high school seniors from across the nation to receive recognition for their accomplishments in academics, the arts, and career and technical education fields.

“I am delighted to recognize Pennsylvania’s exceptional 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars for being awarded one of the nation’s highest academic honors,” said Acting Secretary of Education Noe Ortega. “Each student worked very hard, engaged in community service, and displayed outstanding leadership skills, doing their part to make our commonwealth a better place. I proudly join President Joe Biden and USDE Secretary Miguel Cardona in recognizing and congratulating these talented students.”

Pennsylvania’s awardees are:

  • Catherine A. Cavanaugh, North Penn High School
  • Richard Su Fang, Council Rock High School North
  • Raymond A. Slifer, Quakertown Senior High School (U.S. Presidential Scholar in Career and Technical Education).

This year is especially notable for the commonwealth as Raymond A. Slifer of Quakertown Senior High School became Pennsylvania’s first-ever career and technical education (CTE) student to earn this recognition.

“I am proud of Raymond for becoming Pennsylvania’s first U.S. Presidential Scholar in Career and Technical Education since the inclusion of CTE in the Presidential Scholars program in 2015,” said PDE’s Director of the Bureau of Career and Technical Education Lee Burket. “Raymond demonstrated his academic accomplishments, ingenuity, and problem-solving, and is being recognized at the national level. I congratulate him for being an outstanding student who demonstrates excellence in CTE.”

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects students annually based on their academic success, artistic and technical excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.

Of the 3.6 million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 6,000 candidates qualified for the 2021 awards determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT or ACT exams or through nominations made by Chief State School Officers, other partner recognition organizations, and the National YoungArts Foundation’s nationwide YoungArts™ program.

“The 2021 Presidential Scholars represent extraordinary achievements for our extraordinary times,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “I am delighted to join President Biden in saluting these outstanding young people for their achievements, service, character and continued pursuit of excellence. Their examples make me proud and hopeful about the future. Honoring them can remind us all of the great potential in each new generation and renew our commitment to helping them achieve their dreams.”

Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored over 7,600 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 extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields.

As directed by Presidential Executive Order, the 2021 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. 

The Presidential Scholars Class of 2021 will be recognized for their outstanding achievement this summer.

A complete list of all 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars is available online at www.ed.gov/psp

For more information about Pennsylvania’s education policies and programs, please visit the Department of Education’s website at www.education.pa.gov or follow PDE on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

MEDIA CONTACT: Kendall Alexander, kenalexand@pa.gov -

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