Six seniors from Edmond Public Schools have been named candidates for the prestigious U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. The program was established in 1964 by executive order of the President to recognize and honor the nation’s most distinguished graduating seniors.
Edmond North seniors Grace Depp, James “Clay” Rounsavall, Samuel Holloway and Garrett Wilkens, along with Edmond Memorial seniors Robert Walderbach and Karena Zhao, were selected based on their academic and artistic success, leadership and involvement in their school and community.
Memorial academic counselor Carol Doherty said Zhao and Walderbach are deeply admired and respected.
“Not too many students make a perfect score on the ACT College Entrance Exam the first time they take it, but Karena did just that,” said Doherty. “Her exceptional leadership qualities are exuded in her academic record, extra-curricular activities, personal goals, aspirations, and relationships.” Doherty praised Walderbach for his focus and self-direction. “Robert is just one of the finest young men you could ever meet. He is an outstanding thinker, leader and problem-solver. Teachers really appreciate his determination.”
All four Edmond North candidates are described as “uniquely gifted.”
“Clay Rounsavall is a young man gifted with not only great intelligence and musicality but with a confident and contemplative manner,” said North Academic Counselor Stephanie Locke. “His key interests revolve around artistic expression. He not only performs in the Edmond North High School band but enjoys writing poetry and composing music.”
Grace Depp is also musically talented serving as concertmaster of the Edmond North Orchestra.
“Her leadership experiences also include serving as both secretary of the orchestra student council and orchestra junior class officer,” said Academic Counselor Amy Hanson. “In addition, she is a masterful writer who also serves other students as a tutor in our Husky writing center.”
Hanson extolled Wilkins as exceptionally curious.
“Garrett is an incredible young man with vision and determination. He is in his third year as a student in Francis Tuttle’s Pre-Engineering Academy. He is inquisitive and appreciates a challenge to research to more fully understand topics.”
And North academic counselor Shawna Nord said Sam Holloway is not only academically talented but also well-rounded. He serves on numerous school clubs.
“Sam is the Co-Editor-in-Chief of the school newspaper, the ‘Rough Draft’, secretary of the National Honor Society, vice-president of the Pre-Med Club and involved in Huskies for Equality, Debate Team, Latin Club, Youth in Government and Mu Alpha Theta,” said Nord.
All six candidates are also National Merit Semifinalists achieving PSAT test scores that qualify them among the top one percent of graduating seniors in America.
In April, the Commission on Presidential Scholars reviews the applications of all semifinalists. The Commission selects up to 161 U.S Presidential Scholars each year. All scholars are honored for their accomplishments during the National Recognition Program, held in June in Washington, D.C.
For more information, go to https://www2.ed.gov/programs/psp/index.html.