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For Immediate Release: May 25, 2006
Contact: Mary Stadick Smith - (605) 773-7228

Students selected as Presidential Scholars

Two South Dakota students have been chosen as Presidential Scholars for 2006. Allison La Fave of De Smet and Mitchell Rodriguez of Rapid City will be honored for their accomplishments during a national recognition week held in June in Washington, D.C.

“These young people represent the best and brightest of South Dakota,” said Dr. Rick Melmer, secretary of the South Dakota Department of Education. “They have earned this prestigious honor, and we wish them the best as they pursue further educational opportunities.”

La Fave and Rodriguez will enjoy a trip to Washington, D.C., where they will meet with government officials, educators, authors, musicians and scientists. They will visit museums and monuments and attend recitals and receptions. Their week will culminate with an awards ceremony sponsored by the White House.

Established in 1964 by Executive Order of the President, the Presidential Scholars Program recognizes some of the nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors. Each year, up to 141 students are named as Presidential Scholars. Scholars are selected based on academic achievement or artistic scholarship. The scholars also have demonstrated leadership, scholarship, contribution to school and community, and outstanding accomplishments in the arts, sciences and other fields of interest. Candidacy is by invitation only.

In addition to La Fave and Rodriguez, a handful of South Dakota students were chosen as semifinalists in this year’s selection process. They are: Hannah Alsgaard, Yankton; Jesse Liebe, Milbank; Joseph Miller, Faulkton; Rebecca Somer, Yankton.