Two Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) students have been named Presidential Scholars, one of the highest honors given to high school seniors in the United States. Max E. Chavez of Albert Einstein High School/Visual Art Center was named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts for his accomplishment in the visual arts. Frank L. Washburn of Walt Whitman High School was selected as an academic Presidential Scholar on the basis of academic achievement.
The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, a group of citizens appointed by the president, announced the scholars this month. Each year, up to 121 students nationwide are named Presidential Scholars for academic achievement (including one young man and one young woman from each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and from U.S. students living abroad, plus 15 at-large students). Another 20 are named Presidential Scholars in the Arts for their scholarship in the visual arts, performing arts, or creative writing.
In addition to Washburn, the other academic finalist from Maryland was Jennifer P. Jordan of Sidwell Friends School. Chavez was the arts finalists from the state.
Each Presidential Scholar can nominate one educator who has had the greatest influence on him or her for a Teacher Recognition Award. Washburn selected Kelly Garton, an environmental science and biology teacher at Walt Whitman High School, to receive the award. Chavez selected Michael Piechocinski, an art teacher with the Visual Art center at Albert Einstein High School. The two educators will receive certificates of excellence from the U.S. Department of Education at a June recognition ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Chavez, Washburn, and the other scholars will receive Presidential Scholar medallions and participate in other activities during Scholars Week, tentatively scheduled for June 19-24. Washburn and Chavez are among eight MCPS seniors who earlier were named semifinalists in the competition.