August 26, 2016

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: 2017 U. S. Presidential Scholars Program Includes CTE Student Recognition

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964 and since that time, the program has honored more than 7,000 outstanding high school seniors.  As the program has grown from the initial recognition based upon SAT or ACT scores, additional Scholars candidates have been invited to apply for accomplishments in the visual and performing arts or creative writing.  Last year, President Obama amended the program by adding a new component—recognition for excellence among students in career and technical education.  In 2016, 161 U.S. Presidential Scholars, including 20 first-time U.S. Presidential Scholars in Career and Technical Education (CTE), were honored.

The Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education is accepting nominations of Virginia candidates for recognition. The Criteria for Candidate Identification and Nomination (PDF) provides detailed information and lists the categories that will be used by the Commission on Presidential Scholars selection committee.

School divisions are invited to nominate an outstanding CTE student for the 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.  The following information must be submitted for nominees through the Virginia Department of Education secure Single Sign-on for Web Systems (SSWS) drop box to the attention of Judith P. Sams:

Nominations must be received by October 1, 2016.  Five state semifinalists will be selected by the Virginia Selection Committee.  The U.S. Presidential Scholars program office will invite those nominees to apply in mid-January 2017, completed applications will be due in February, and the Scholars will be announced in May.

If you have any questions, please contact Judith P. Sams, CTE Scholars coordinator, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, at or by telephone at (804) 371-0196.



  1. Criteria for Candidate Identification and Nomination (PDF)