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Two NM students join the ranks of US Presidential Scholars

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Two New Mexico students are among the 161 high school seniors announced as the 57th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars, recognizing their accomplishments in academics, the arts, and career and technical education fields.

Melinda Leyuan Modisette of Albuquerque Academy and Faris Irwin Wald of Santa Fe High School were selected by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars as part of the annual honor.

“I’m honored to salute this year’s Presidential Scholars – some of America’s best and brightest,” U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement. “They have demonstrated exceptional talent inside the classroom and out. With their selection, we are continuing a tradition begun more than a half-century ago of recognizing some of our nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors. We wish them the best of luck as they pursue their dreams.”

The commission considers academic success, artistic and technical excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership and commitment to high ideals, according to a news release.

Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored over 7,600 of the nation’s top-performing students.

Members of the Presidential Scholars Class of 2021 will be recognized for their achievement this summer.

A complete list of 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars is available at

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