Academic Excellence

Category : Awards

Paradise Valley High Senior Selected as 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholar Semifinalist

Wednesday , May 05 , 2021

Isabella Santoni

Isabella Santoni, a senior and student in the Center for Research in Engineering, Science, and Technology Program at Paradise Valley High School, was named 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholar Semifinalist – Arts for her stellar academic achievement. 

Santoni is one of two Arizona students selected for the Arts Presidential Scholars Award and is one of 625 semifinalists who were selected from a pool of nearly 6,500 candidates.

“Making it through this first round of adjudication to be named a Semifinalist for U.S. Presidential Scholar has been incredible beyond words. I never would have dreamed to be nominated for U.S. Presidential Scholar, much less to be one of the 625 semifinalists out of 6,500 candidates. I feel honored to have made it this far in the process, and I’m cautiously optimistic for the final scholars' announcement in May! Being considered for U.S. Presidential Scholar has meant more than a title for me; it’s meant increased representation for queer women in literary spaces. I hope other young people can look to our nation’s youth artists and see someone who looks like them, worships like them, and loves like them,” said Santoni.

Students from across the United States are selected by invitation, based only on their SAT or ACT exam scores, to apply for the U.S. Presidential Scholars. Students have the opportunity to become Presidential Scholars based on three paths of accomplishments - General, Arts, and Career and Technical Education (CTE).

The Commission on U.S. Presidential Scholars will complete its selection of the high school seniors who will be named as the 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars. Scholars are notified in May.

Santoni will graduate from Paradise Valley High School on May 20. She will attend the University of Arizona and will pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting with a dual minor in Creative Writing and Gender & Women’s Studies.

About the U.S. Presidential Scholars

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964 to recognize and honor some of the nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors.