Baesler Lauds Presidential Honors for Students, Teachers

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Dale Wetzel, Public Information Specialist
Office 701-328-2247
Cell: 701-400-8557
Baesler Lauds Presidential Honors for Students, Teachers

BISMARCK, N.D., May 9, 2018 – State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler congratulated four North Dakota students who have been named as Presidential Scholars, and four teachers who have been honored as Presidential Scholars Distinguished Teachers.

The student Presidential Scholars, all of whom are high school seniors, are Marissa Diggs, a student at Oakes High School; Brianna Maddock, a student at Kindred High School; and two Fargo students, Nidhi T. Mahale of Davies High School and Isaac S. Spanjer of Fargo North. The scholars program is administered by the U.S. Department of Education.

Separately, the department named four North Dakota teachers as Presidential Scholars Distinguished Teachers. They are Mitchell Becker, an agricultural education teacher at Kindred High School; Michelle Bertsch, a math teacher at Davies High School in Fargo; Kathie Hay, a music teacher at Oakes High School; and Colin Kloster, who teaches history at North High School in Fargo.

“These students and teachers are amazing examples of excellence in our state,” Baesler said Wednesday. “Their accomplishments are worthy to be celebrated by all North Dakotans. There are no greater resources in our state than outstanding students and outstanding teachers.”

A Presidential Scholar designation is one of the most prestigious academic honors that a high school senior can receive. Each year, 161 students -- including at least one young man and one young woman from each state -- are named as Presidential Scholars, out of the 3.6 million students who are expected to graduate from high school this year.

The student scholar program recognizes academic proficiency; talent in the visual, literary and performing arts; and career and technical education. Diggs, Mahale and Spanjer were recognized for academic achievement, while Maddock was chosen for her skill in career and technical education.

The students will be honored June 24 at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., where they will receive a Presidential Scholar Medallion.

Baesler said it was fitting that the Distinguished Teacher awards were announced during Teacher Appreciation Week, which began Monday and runs until Friday.

“This allows us to celebrate the excellent teachers that we have in the state of North Dakota. We have some of the finest in the nation,” she said. “And when we have teachers who are identified as Presidential Scholar teachers, it really exemplifies how excellent they truly are.”