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Lawrence Zhang, a graduating senior at James Clemens High School, has been named a U.S. Presidential Scholar. CONTRIBUTED

Zhang among 3 U.S. Presidential Scholars in Alabama

MADISON – Lawrence Zhang, a graduating senior at James Clemens High School, has the distinction as one of only three students selected as 2020 U.S. Presidential Scholars from the State of Alabama.

Across the United States, 161 students won the highly coveted award from 5,300 candidates.

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects students annually based on their academic success. The selection criteria include ACT or SAT performance, artistic and technical excellence, essays, nominations from chief school officials, school evaluations and transcripts, along with community service, leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.

In a press release, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said, “It is my privilege to congratulate the Presidential Scholars Class of 2020 on their outstanding academic achievement, community service and leadership. These exemplary young people have excelled inside the classroom and out.”

“While (these students) are facing unprecedented challenges as they graduate from high school into a world that looks much different than it did just a few months ago, their determination, resilience and commitment to excellence will serve them well as they pursue their next steps,” DeVos said.

The other Alabamians selected as U.S. Presidential Scholars are Kittson Hamill from Huntsville High School and Isaac Walter Stubbs from Wetumpka High School.

Zhang attended Columbia Elementary School and Liberty Middle School. In other honors, Zhang placed first in the 11th-grade division in the Fall Startup Event, a national mathematics contest from National Assessment & Testing.

He also is an award winner with Madison City Chess League. Zhang was named a National Merit Semifinalist in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program.

Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored more than 7,600 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.

For more information, visit ed.gov/psp.

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