Five FFA members were recently named U.S. Presidential Scholars — one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students — for their accomplishments in academics, the arts, and career and technical education. Each year, up to 161 students receive this honor.
The FFA members named as scholars are:
- Justin Chan, Middletown FFA, Delaware
- Jaxon Mullinnix, Lone Tree FFA, Iowa
- Megan Niewoehner, Sumner-Fredericksburg FFA, Iowa
- Katrina Eileen Pokorny, Waupun FFA, Wisconsin
- Matthew E. Ryherd, Reedsburg FFA, Wisconsin
Established in 1964 by executive order of President Lyndon B. Johnson, the U.S. Presidential Scholars program was created with the intent to recognize the nation’s most distinguished high school graduating seniors. In 2015, the program was expanded to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education.
The 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholars are comprised of two students from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico and from U.S. families living abroad, as well as 15 chosen at-large. There are also 20 scholars in the arts and 20 scholars in career and technical education.
Overseen by the Commission on Presidential Scholars, the program is administered by staff at the U.S. Department of Education. The commission selects honored scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service and leadership.
Each honoree is invited to attend a recognition program to be held on June 23 in Washington, D.C., where they will receive a Presidential Scholar Medallion.
“This recognition demonstrates the students’ ability to balance their academic work while making a positive difference in their schools and communities,” said National FFA Advisor Dr. Steve Brown. “As an FFA member, these students went above and beyond set expectations. They are living out the mission and vision of the organization each day.”
The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth, and career success training through agricultural education to 669,989 student members who belong to one of 8,630 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.