Brook Higbee, 2016 graduate of Pahranagat Valley High School, was among a number of students from all around the United States honored at the annual Presidential Scholars Medallion ceremony held June 19 in Washington, D.C.
The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964, by executive order of the President, to recognize and honor some of our nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors. In 1979, the program was extended to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative and performing arts. In 2015, the program was again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields. Each year, up to 161 students are named as Presidential Scholars, one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students.
Higbee said about 700 students apply for the program, but only a small number are chosen. There are at least two from each state. She was accompanied by her parents, Brian and Jeanne Higbee of Alamo.
Others from Nevada this year were McKenzie Wooten of Northwest Tech and Career Academy and Hayden Bradstreet of Davidson Academy of Nevada.
There were three different classifications,” Higbee said, “A general scholar, which I was, performing arts scholar, and a Career Technical Event, such as FFA, FBLA, and FCCLA. It’s not just academics only.”
At the medallion ceremony, held at the Andrew Mellon Auditorium, she said “We had a panel discussion with Secretary of Education John King and some other people that are important in education.”
“We all stayed on the campus of Georgetown University,” she said. “We had a panel discussion there, too, as well as one in the West Wing of the White House. The President was in the White House at the time, but did not attend our discussion.”
Higbee said she was surprised at being selected to be one of the Presidential Scholars. “I met a lot of people back in Washington who are going to be going to Ivy League schools, some with perfect scores on their A.C.T. exams. Some of the kids I met had only been involved in academics, and did not participate in athletics or student government their high school years.”
Higbee said she was pleased she had participated in a number of other extra-curricular activities at PVHS, playing volleyball, basketball and softball. She was student body president her senior year and an infielder on the Panthers four-straight state softball championship teams.
A performing arts program was presented by the performing arts scholars, and Higbee said she was amazed at the array of talent those participating showed in poetry, singing, band, dancing, etc. “An hour-and-a-half program, the most amazing thing I have ever watched.”