Angela Pizzuto is well aware of what a significant honor it is to be chosen as a United States Presidential Scholar candidate. “It’s really important, considering how few students are selected,” said Pizzuto, who plans to study physics in college this fall.
The East Islip High School senior and upcoming salutatorian is one of only approximately 3,000 candidates nationwide who attained this initial achievement based on their exceptional SAT or ACT scores. Each year, roughly 20 male and 20 female students are selected per state, by invitation only. In April, 500 candidates are named as semifinalists. Up to 141 students from this pool of candidates are then named U.S Presidential Scholars in May, recognized as some of the nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors. The Scholars are invited on an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. in June to participate in National Recognition Weekend, culminating in a ceremony sponsored by the White House in which the students are presented with medallions. In honoring these Scholars, the president symbolically honors all graduating seniors of high potential.