Seven New Mexico High School Seniors Are Semifinalists In U.S. Presidential Scholars Program


Seven New Mexico high school seniors are semifinalists in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, the New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) announced Monday.

Semifinalists for the title U.S. Presidential Scholar are:

  • Quinn Ennis, Cedar Crest – Albuquerque Academy;
  • Louis A. Hay, Taos – Taos High School ;
  • Isabel N. McCabe, Albuquerque – McCabe Home School; 
  • Ethan D. Nguyen, Farmington – Farmington High School; 
  • Kaya A. Perce, Albuquerque – Albuquerque High School; and 
  • Melody Yeh, Albuquerque – La Cueva High School

Semifinalist for U.S Presidential Scholar in Career and Technical Education:

  •  Jace E. Martinez, Belen – Belen High School

They are among 25 New Mexico high school seniors nominated in November by Public Education Secretary Kurt Steinhaus.

“We are incredibly proud of these students because each of them worked hard to overcome obstacles including a global pandemic and still achieve academically and contribute to their families, schools and communities,” Steinhaus said. “They stand as role models for every New Mexico child, showing that many paths can lead to academic success.

“We must also remember the supportive families and motivational educators who helped these students succeed, and we thank them for their partnership and hard work as well,” Steinhaus said.

Altogether, more than 5,000 students were identified as candidates this year. The seven New Mexicans are among 620 semifinalists nationwide in the 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. Semifinalists form the pool from which the U.S. Department of Education will select up to 161 U.S. Presidential Scholars for 2022. That announcement is expected in mid-May.

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964 by executive order to recognize and honor some of the nation’s most distinguished graduating seniors. In 1979, the program was expanded to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in visual, literary and performing arts. It was expanded again in 2015 to recognize students who demonstrate accomplishment in career and technical fields.