Shelby County students named Presidential Scholars Program candidates

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

Seven students from schools in Shelby County have been selected as candidates for the 2015 Presidential Scholars Program.

The Presidential Scholars Program recognizes “some of our Nations most distinguished graduating high school seniors,” according to the U.S. Department of Education website, and each year, up to 141 students are selected as Presidential Scholars.

Around 3,900 high school seniors from across the nation were selected as candidates for this year’s Presidential Scholars Program, 59 are from Alabama.

The 2015 Presidential Scholars Program candidates from Shelby County are Elise N. Helton, Evangel Classical Christian School; Nathan S. Holt, Oak Mountain High School; Joshua E. Taggart, Spain Park High School; Lindsey Jinright, Pelham High School; Rebecca N. Leech, Spain Park High School; Lauren N. Sullivan, Briarwood Christian High School; and Tristan Trechsel, Indian Springs School.

“It’s really just a mark of distinction,” Spain Park High School College and Career Specialist Tracy Prater said. “It’s exceptional to have two (Presidential Scholar Program candidates) and we couldn’t be happier for them… It speaks to the education they’re receiving here.”

According to the Department of Education, students may not nominate themselves, nor may individual schools nominate students. Students are chosen for Presidential Scholars Program based off of academic achievement and standardized test scores.

Approximately 560 semifinalists will be chosen from the 3,900 candidates, and in April, the 2015 Presidential Scholars Program finalists will be named, according to the Department of Education.