U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced the selection of Taylor Rodman of Coppell, Texas who attends Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts in Dallas, as a 2012 U.S. Presidential Scholar.

Rodman is one of 141 outstanding American high school seniors that have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, artistic excellence, leadership, citizenship, service, and contribution to school and community. The U.S. Presidential Scholars will be honored for their accomplishments in Washington D.C., from June 16-19.

The Scholars will travel to Washington, DC to meet with government officials, educators, authors, musicians and other accomplished individuals. To commemorate their achievement the Scholars are awarded the U.S. Presidential Scholars medallion in a White House-sponsored ceremony. The artists and writers will exhibit their works at the Smithsonian American Art Museum on Sunday, June 17, and perform at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Monday, June 18.“Honoring Presidential Scholars is an important celebration of students showing the dedication, creativity and ambition to become future leaders,” Duncan said. “As national, state and local leaders work side by side with principals, teachers, and parents to make our schools better, we can learn from the students all around us whose hard work and accomplishments embody the kind of excellence we want every child to achieve.”

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, appointed by President Obama, selects honored 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. Of the three million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 3,300 candidates qualified for the 2012 awards determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, and through nominations made by Chief State School Officers or the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts nationwide YoungArts™ competition.

The 2012 Presidential Scholars are comprised of 20 Presidential Scholars in the Arts, 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.

Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored more than 6,000 of the nation’s top-performing students with the prestigious award given to honorees during the annual ceremony in D.C. The program was expanded in 1979 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, literary and performing arts. Since 1983, each Presidential Scholar has been offered the opportunity to invite his or her most inspiring and challenging teacher to the annual ceremony where they are honored with a Teacher Recognition Award from the U.S. Department of Education.

The teacher chosen for recognition by Rodman was Lily Weiss of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts in Dallas, TX.

A complete list of 2012 U.S. Presidential Scholars is available at

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