Bangkok resident Claire Hightower, a recent graduate of Bangkok Patana School, was named a 2020 Presidential Scholar by US Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. Claire was one of 161 US high school seniors and one of two internationally recognized for their accomplishments in academics, the arts, and career and technical education fields.
Of the 3.6 million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 5,300 candidates qualified for the 2020 awards. The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects scholars annually based on their 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.
The 56th class of 2020 U.S. Presidential Scholars consists 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.
After the initial nomination, Claire submitted a number of additional essays and biographical material in order to qualify for the semifinal and final rounds.
Claire chose Mr George Hume, her Geography teacher and mentor for her Extended Essay, as her Distinguished Teacher for his significant contributions to her success at Bangkok Patana School.
Each year, Presidential Scholars and their Distinguished Teachers are recognized and attend a ceremony at the White House in Washington DC. However, this year because of COVID-19 related travel restrictions and social distancing, the ceremony will not take place. Claire received a medal signifying her achievement and will be further recognized online.