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Press Release

State School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler congratulated 64 North Dakota high school seniors who have been nominated for United States Presidential Scholar honors.

The scholars were chosen from 20 public and four nonpublic high schools. Bismarck Century has the most nominees, with 13, while Grand Forks Central had 10. Fargo’s Davies and North high schools have six nominees each.

The U.S. Department of Education’s announcement of the 65 nominees is the beginning of the process of selecting one young man and one young woman as North Dakota’s two Presidential Scholars. Those choices will be announced in early May.

Being named as a Presidential Scholar is one of the most prestigious awards a high school senior can receive, Baesler said. “Even being nominated for consideration as a Presidential Scholar is considered a high honor,” the superintendent said. “It signifies that the student has an outstanding academic history and a record of accomplishment.”

The Department of Education invites students to apply to become Presidential Scholars based on their scores on the SAT or ACT college entrance exams. Baesler and designated education organizations, including the Department of Career and Technical Education, also may nominate candidates.

Nominees are asked to complete a nine-page application that inquires about jobs they have held, special talents they have, and community activities in which they have been involved. It asks nominees to write short essays describing family characteristics, creative work, significant community contributions, and how they have responded to a challenge or mistake.

The two North Dakota young people who are chosen as Presidential Scholars will receive an expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., in June, where they will be presented with a special medallion and have opportunities to meet national and international notables in education, music, science, and other disciplines.

Here is the list of the 2020 Presidential Scholar nominees from North Dakota:

Berthold (1)

Aubrey D. Lemer, Berthold


Bismarck High (1)

Gabrielle C. Belanger, Bismarck


Bismarck Century (13)

Leah J. Bandy, Bismarck

Ethan N. Berger, Bismarck

Wyatt Birst, Bismarck

Makenna D. Cavanagh, Bismarck

Kira R. Eliason, Bismarck

Alexander M. Heiser, Bismarck

Madelyn House, Bismarck

Srikrishna B. Kandooru, Bismarck

Ke Lin, Bismarck

Jacob E. Lundstrom, Bismarck

Avery C. Meyhoff, Bismarck

Maren H. Schettler, Bismarck

Ellie Zentner, Bismarck


Bismarck Legacy (2)

Cody L. Goehring, Menoken

Sean Joyce, Bismarck


Bismarck Shiloh Christian (1)

Andrew S. Fergel, Mandan


Bottineau (2)

Jacob Reimche, Bottineau

Nikoli E. Schoenborn, Bottineau


Casselton Central Cass (1)

Katherine M. Kempel, Casselton


Dickinson (1)

William J. Bleyenberg, Dickinson


Devils Lake (2)

Kali A. Bjornson, Devils Lake

Colby D. Rance, Webster


Ellendale (1)

Caleb W. Hauck, Forbes


Fargo Davies (6)

Habiba Heshmat, Fargo

Joanna Y. Lin, Fargo

Elijah J. Satrom, Fargo

Enoch D. Satrom, Fargo

Forrest S. Weintraub, Fargo

Allen Z. Wu, Fargo


Fargo North (6)

Philip C. Dowdell, Fargo

Roy Bennett K. Heng, Fargo

Teegan M. Nordstrom, Fargo

Jacob A. Shelver, Fargo

Mason J. Taragos, Fargo

Cindy L. Wang, Fargo


Fargo Shanley (4)

Luke T. Beiswenger, Fargo

Olivia S. Johnson, Fargo

Evan M. Reinholz, Fargo

Brandon Rostberg, West Fargo


Fargo South (3)

Julia Q. Bauroth, Fargo

Miriam E. Duncan, Fargo

Vincent D. Holmlund, Fargo


Grand Forks Central (10)

Rachel Craig, Grand Forks

Oliver T. Dalmi, Grand Forks

Daniel A. Hettich, Grand Forks

Aidan Fire, Grand Forks

William L. Lawson-Body, Grand Forks

Katherine Liberman, Larimore

Jack E. Peterson, Grand Forks

Mikayla E. Weiss, Grand Forks

Oliver D. Wolfe, Grand Forks

Gareth J. Wu, Grand Forks


Grand Forks Red River (2)

Aiden O. Krogh, Grand Forks

Joseph R. Votava, Grand Forks


Lakota (1)

Evan Halvorson, Lawton


Minot Our Redeemer’s Christian (1)

Jack T. Wolsky, Minot


Moorhead Park Christian (1)

Carter B. Aamodt, West Fargo


North Shore (1)

Bradyn T. Lenning, Plaza


Oakes (1)

Ryan Hermes, Oakes

Nicole Schmitz, Oakes


Rugby (1)

Melody C. Johnson, Rugby


South Heart (1)

Genavive R. Robbins, Dickinson


West Fargo High (1)

Ryan L. Orth, West Fargo


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