Over 25 Indian American and South Asian American high school seniors were named to the 54th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars May 8 by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

The total of 161 students selected as Presidential Scholars were chosen for their accomplishments in academics, the arts and career, and technical education fields. 

"I want to congratulate this year's class of Presidential Scholars on their achievement and also thank their parents, teachers and other academic advisors who have helped guide them along the way," DeVos said in a statement. "These students have pushed themselves to be the best they can be, and I am certain that devotion will serve them well as they continue their individual learning journeys."

The 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. 

Among the Indian American and South Asian American scholars chosen are Mansi Totwani, who is studying abroad; and in Arizona, Aditya Sivakumar of the BASIS Phoenix school.

Ankita Mittal of Arkansas’ KIPP Blytheville Collegiate High School, Advait Patil of San Jose, Calif.-based Lynbrook High School, and Cherry Creek High School’s Siddharth M. Mane and Isani Singh from Colorado were also named among the scholars.

Additionally, Florida-based student Sidhika Balachandar of Buchholz High School, Chicago, Ill.-based Northside College Preparatory High School’s Ibraheem Khan, Neeharika Kothapalli of Blue Valley West High in Kansas, and Sreya Vangara of Poolesville Senior High School in Maryland were named scholars.

Michigan students Neha Seshadri and Veena Thamilselvan, Vinjai S. Vale of Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, Deven Singh of Monmouth Academy of Allied Health and Sciences in New Jersey, and North Carolina students Nithya S. Adusumilli and Ronak Bhagia were also named by DeVos as 2018 scholars.

Other Presidential Scholars include Nidhi T. Mahale of North Dakota, Shreyah Mohanselvan of Ohio, Aryaman Khandelwal and Pranshu Suri of Pennsylvania, Ruhama Tereda of South Dakota, Sonesh Patel and Syamantak Payra of Texas, Kanishka Ragula of Utah, Virginia students Kavya Kopparapu, Mihir Patel and Marissa Sumathipala; and Vinitha Joseph of West Virginia.

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects 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, according to a news release.

Of the 3.6 million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 5,200 candidates qualified for the 2018 awards determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, through nominations made by Chief State School Officers, other partner recognition organizations or the National YoungArts Foundation's nationwide YoungArt competition, it said.

Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored almost 7,500 of the nation's top-performing students with the prestigious award given to honorees during the annual ceremony in Washington. 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.

The scholars will be honored at a June 24 event in which each student will receive a Presidential Scholar medallion.

Note: The list does not necessarily include all Indian American and South Asian Americans honored as a Presidential Scholar.

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