BISMARCK, N.D., May 13, 2021 – Two Grand Forks County students, Ellen Anna Gregoire and Dennis Du, have been named as North Dakota’s Presidential Scholars for 2021.
The U.S. Department of Education announced May 13, 2021, that Gregoire, a senior at Larimore High School, and Du, a senior at Grand Forks Central, have been chosen for the award, which honors high school seniors for exceptional academic achievement. Gregoire and Du are among 161 Presidential Scholars chosen nationally, out of 3.6 million students expected to graduate from high school this year.
“Congratulations to these two outstanding young people,” State School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler said. “Being named as a Presidential Scholar is one of the highest achievements a high school student can attain. These students, their families, their teachers, their peers, and the entire state of North Dakota should recognize and take pride in this honor.”
Gregoire was sitting with her mother in a coffee shop when she heard the news of her selection. “I was just ecstatic. This means that all the hard work that I have put in was all worthwhile,” she said.
Gregoire, 18, who graduates from Larimore High School on May 23, plans to attend the University of North Dakota and study dietetics, which is the science of diet, nutrition, and health. She is an avid runner and is interested in helping athletes fuel properly for optimal performance, she said.
Du, 17, has been accepted to Harvard, and he said it was “most likely” he would study computer science. He graduates from Grand Forks Central on May 30.
“It was exciting. It was a surprise,” Du said of his selection. “It’s a rare honor. I feel very fortunate.”
The Presidential Scholar honor is awarded to one young woman and one young man from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and U.S. families living abroad. Another 15 scholars are chosen at large, as well as 20 scholars in the arts and another 20 in career and technical education.
Most scholar candidates are chosen based on their scores on the ACT or SAT college entrance exams. Others are nominated by the heads of state education departments and other partner organizations.