Brookings High School Student named 2020 Presidential Scholar

A Brookings High School student is among 161 seniors from across the nation honored for their accomplishments in academics, the arts, and career and technical education fields.

Ainsley Powers has been named a 2020 Presidential Scholar. The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars makes the selections annually based on “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.”

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on Thursday announced the 56th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars. “It is my privilege to congratulate the Presidential Scholars Class of 2020 on their outstanding academic achievement, community service, and leadership,” said DeVos. “These exemplary young people have excelled inside the classroom and out. And, while they 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.”

Of the 3.6 million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 5,300 candidates qualified for the 2020 awards determined by outstanding performance.

As directed by executive order of the President, the 2020 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 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.

Ainsley Powers is the daughter of Derrick and Cami Powers. She will be awarded a Presidential Scholars medallion and honored during an online recognition ceremony.

Two other South Dakotans were also named 2020 Presidential Scholars. They are Jonathan Coronado of Rapid City Stevens High School and Katherine J. Pardy of Sioux Falls O’Gorman High School.