Hillcrest High Senior Named U.S. Presidential Scholar

Hillcrest senior Danju Zoe Liu

A Hillcrest High senior is among the 161 students announced on Thursday, May 12 as U.S. Presidential Scholars. 

Danju Zoe Liu, Sandy, a student at Hillcrest High School, is one of four Utah students selected for the 58th class of scholars. 

The news was unveiled by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona .The title recognizes high school seniors for their accomplishments in academics, the arts, and career and technical education fields.

“Our 2022 Presidential Scholars represent the best of America, and remind us that when empowered by education, there are no limits to what our young people can achieve,” Cardona said in a statement. “Today, I join President Biden to celebrate a class of scholars whose pursuit of knowledge, generosity of spirit, and exceptional talents bring our nation tremendous pride. Throughout one of the most trying periods in our nation’s history and amid our recovery from the pandemic, our students have once again demonstrated their strength and that they have so much to contribute to our country. Thanks to them, I know America’s future is bright.”

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects scholars annually. Candidates are evaluated on their academic prowess, as well as submitted essays and a demonstrated commitment to community service and leadership.

Of the 3.7 million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 5,000 candidates qualified for the 2022 awards determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT or ACT exams or through nominations made by chief state school officers, other partner recognition organizations, and the National Foundation for the Advancement of Artists. 

As directed by Presidential Executive Order, the 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholars are comprised of one young man and one young woman from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and U.S. families living abroad, as well as 15 chosen at-large, 20 scholars in the arts and 20 scholars in career and technical education.   

The other Utah winners include: 

  • Alan Z. H. Mo, Murray, a student at Skyline High School in the Granite School District. He is a Career and Technical Education scholar.
  • Gary Zhan, Logan, a student at Logan High School in the Logan School District.
  • Malavika G. Singh, Salt Lake City, a student at West High School in the Salt Lake City School District. She is an arts scholar.

Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored more than 7,900 of the nation’s top-performing students. The program was expanded in 1979 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, literary and performing arts. In 2015, the program was again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields.

Each scholar also is asked to name an influential teacher.  Liu’s selection for the list of the 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholar Program’s Distinguished Teachers is Hillcrest theater teacher Joshua Long.

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Lucie Chamberlain

Alta View Elementary

If a movie about super teachers were ever made, Lucie Chamberlain would be a prime candidate for a leading role. Fortunately for her kindergarten students at Alta View Elementary, she already thrives in a supporting role for them. Parents thank her for being a “super teacher.” She is also described as an “amazing colleague.” Whether students need help in the classroom or from home while sick, Lucie goes above and beyond to help them learn, overcome fears, and feel important and cared for. Lucie is the reason a number of kids went from hating school to loving it, according to parents. The way she exudes patience, sweetness, positive energy, and love for her students with special needs melts is appreciated and admired. One parent noted: “Both my kids wish she could be their teacher forever.” Another added:  “She treats every student like their learning and their feelings are her priority.” Super teacher, indeed!

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