Saak Named 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholar

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Saak Named 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholar

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U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today announced the selection of Tiana Saak of Grundy

Center, Iowa, who attends Grundy Center High School in Grundy Center, as a 2017 U.S. Presidential


Saak is one of 161 outstanding American high school seniors who have demonstrated outstanding

academic achievement, artistic excellence, leadership, citizenship, service, and contribution to school and

community. The U.S. Presidential Scholars will be honored for their accomplishments in Washington

D.C., from June 18-20.

“I congratulate this year’s class of Presidential Scholars for their devotion to academic excellence

and their parents and teachers who have guided them along the way,” said U.S. Secretary of Education

Betsy DeVos. “Today’s Presidential Scholars are tomorrow’s leaders, and I am confident they will

continue to be shining examples as they enter the next phase of their academic careers.”

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects honored scholars annually based

on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as

evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals. Of the 3.5

million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 5,100 candidates qualified for

the 2017 awards determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, and

through nominations made by Chief State School Officers, other partner recognition organizations or the

National YoungArts Foundation’s nationwide YoungArtsTM competition.

The 2017 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 from U.S. families living abroad, as well

as 15 chosen at-large, 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts, and 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in

Career and Technical Education.

Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored more than 7,000 of the

nation’s top-performing students with the prestigious award given to honorees during the annual

ceremony in D.C. The program was expanded in 1979 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional

talent in the visual, literary and performing arts. In 2015, the program was again extended to recognize

students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields.

Since 1983, each U.S. Presidential Scholar has been offered the opportunity to name his or her

most influential teacher. Each distinguished teacher is honored with a personal letter from the Secretary of


The teacher chosen for recognition by Saak was Kimberly Geer of Grundy Center High School

in Grundy Center, Iowa.


NOTE TO EDITORS: A complete list of 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholars is available at

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