Senior Edward Kim Named Semi-Finalist for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program

Grace Chung, Staff Writer

Last month, Tenafly senior and Class of 2021 salutatorian, Edward Kim was selected as a semifinalist in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.

This prestigious program was established in 1964 to honor America’s most esteemed high school seniors. Annually, only 161 students across our nation are chosen to be Presidential Scholars.

There are many reasons as to why the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program is prestigious, one of them being that scholars are chosen by invitation only. “I participated in a science research competition called the Jersey Shore Junior Science Symposium and the committee nominated me to become a Presidential Scholar,” Kim said. “After the nomination, I had to complete an application to be formally selected as a candidate.” The acceptance is based on the individual’s SAT or ACT score, their recommendation from a Chief State School Officer (a person who leads a state Department of Education), or a nomination from one of the program’s partner associations. Nominees must be a U.S. citizen, as well as graduate or receive a diploma between January and August, and all seniors who fit the complete criteria were sent an announcement as well as a special nomination ID in January. 

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program does not award scholarships but recognition. However, the students picked to be U.S. Presidential Scholars will go on a free trip to Washington, D.C. in June. The students will be given medallions at a celebration financed by the White House. While in Washington, the students will have many resources, including government officials, educators, authors, musicians, and scientists made available to them. There are many more activities during the trip, such as attending recitals or visiting museums. But many scholars say the best part of the Washington trip is being able to be surrounded by people who have a similar drive and determination as them.

Kim was finishing up some homework when an email popped up in the corner of his computer screen. “I was very surprised when I saw the results, and am thankful for the opportunity,” Kim said. Originally, he didn’t know much about the program, but after he was nominated, he conducted further research and was happy to know that it was a “unique opportunity and worth giving a shot at.” Kim is interested in biology, economics, and philosophy and hopes to find a career involving these interests. “Edward’s dedication has paid dividends by being named among the nation’s best and brightest high school seniors,” Principal Jim Morrison said. Kim will be attending Stanford University next year.