Three School District Five students are candidates for U.S. Presidential Scholars Program

Three Lexington-Richland School District Five seniors have been nominated for one of the highest honors for the graduating class of 2023.

Joseph Hodges (Irmo High), James Holliday (Spring Hill High), and Carlynn Rychener (Chapin High) have been named candidates in the 2023 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.

More than 4,000 candidates were selected on the basis of superior academic and artistic achievements, leadership qualities, strong character and involvement in community and school activities. Inclusion in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program is one of the highest honors bestowed upon graduating high school seniors. Scholars are selected on the basis of superior academic and artistic achievements, leadership qualities, strong character and involvement in community and school activities.

Joseph Hodges plans to attend Harvard University or the Honors College at the University of South Carolina once he graduates. “I am honored to be a candidate for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program,” Joseph said. “This has been something that I have been working on for a while and I am very honored to be considered.”

Irmo High School principal Dr. Kaaren Hampton said, “Joseph’s genuine commitment to his personal and educational growth is unmatched. As an International Baccalaureate (IB) student, he is an exemplar not only in the classroom but also in extracurricular and club activities. We are excited for what this accomplishment will mean for Joseph as he continues to plan for the future.”

James Holliday has plans after graduation to study neuroscience and is still deciding what school he will attend. “I’m honored to have been nominated for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program and to have the chance to represent Spring Hill High School,” Holliday said. “While there is steep competition across the country, I’m sure I can put my best foot forward for the opportunity to be selected.”

Spring Hill High School principal Dr. Michael Lofton said that James Holliday is deserving of this honor. “I am so proud of James for being named a candidate for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. Not only is he doing extremely well academically, he also is a role model for his fellow students representing “The Spring Hill WAY”. He is a kind, respectful and compassionate servant leader in his school and community. James is definitely deserving of this recognition and his entire Spring Hill family celebrates him for all that he is and does. I cannot wait to hear of the great things James will do in the years to come,” Lofton said.

Chapin High School’s Carlynn Rychener said, “I am extremely honored for the chance to compete for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, as it is a reflection of my hard work and love of learning.” She plans on continuing her education next year by attending a 4-year university and studying biology and neuroscience.

“Carlynn is a great student who is always ready to learn and explore new opportunities,” said Chapin High Principal Michael Ames. “She is always enthusiastic about research and continues to grow academically. Mrs. Maylath, one of her research teachers, describes Carlynn as always “giddy” about research and loves her eagerness to learn.”

The Scholars program was established in 1964 by Executive Order of the President with subsequent amendments. It recognizes the accomplishments of some of our nation’s most distinguished graduating seniors. Scholars are chosen for leadership and service to school and community and they demonstrate exceptional scholarship; visual, creative, and performing arts talent; and accomplishment in career and technical fields. Up to 161 U.S. Presidential Scholars are chosen annually. U.S. Presidential Scholars are honored for their accomplishments during the National Recognition Program each June and to commemorate their achievement, the Scholars are also awarded the Presidential Scholars Medallion.

The Commission on Presidential Scholars, a group of up to 32 eminent citizens appointed by the president, will select the finalists, and the U.S. Department of Education will announce the semifinalists in April and the scholars in May.

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