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Du Named U.S. Presidential Scholar

News Release                                                     

For Immediate Release                                                                   

May 14, 2021

Du Named U.S. Presidential Scholar

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Dennis Du, a senior at Grand Forks Central High School, has been named a 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholar.

Du joins Ellen Anna Gregoire (Larimore High School) as the two North Dakotans selected as U.S. Presidential Scholars this year.

“Congratulations to these two outstanding young people,” said State School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler. “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.

The students are among 161 nationwide selected as Presidential Scholars. The Presidential Scholars Class of 2021 will receive the Presidential Scholars Medallion at a ceremony in their honor in Washington, D.C.

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects honored scholars annually based on their academic success, essays, school evaluations, and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.

"The academic accomplishments of Dennis are well-deserved and the result of dedication and hard work,” said Principal Jon Strandell. “In addition to his superior coursework and preparation, Dennis has been very involved in leadership roles at Central. He has worked hard to expand his thinking and experiences while serving his classmates, school, and community. Central High School could not be prouder of Dennis and this lofty academic recognition, as well as his desire to grow himself and others around him.”

Du has been accepted to Harvard and plans to study computer science. He selected Cynthia Nelson, math teacher at Grand Forks Central High School, as a 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program Distinguished Teacher.

“The honors continue to roll in for this outstanding young man. Dennis is the epitome of initiative, drive, and achievement and he always exercises humility and grace in recognizing those who have helped and mentored him along the way, such as mathematics teacher Cindy Nelson,” said Superintendent Dr. Terry Brenner. “As an entire Pre-K-12 school district, we are proud of Dennis for his accomplishments as he represents Grand Forks at Harvard University.”

Established in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program recognizes and honors distinguished graduating seniors across the nation. In 1979, the program was extended to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative, and performing arts. In 2015, the program was extended again to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields. 

The program is sponsored by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars and the U.S. Department of Education.

Gary Wu (Grand Forks Central) was named a U.S. Presidential Scholar in Career and Technical Education (CTE) in 2020 and Evan Welsh (Grand Forks Central) was named a U.S. Presidential Scholar in CTE in 2017.