February 04, 2023

NHS senior is one of 5,000 candidates in U.S. Presidential Scholars Program

Leo Friedman makes the list with more than 60 other candidates from Iowa

Newton senior Leo Friedman, center, poses with parents Robyn and Bryan Friedman on Sept. 16 at Newton High School after being named a semifinalist for the National Merit Scholarship Program.

Newton senior Leo Friedman is one of the more than 5,000 candidates selected for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program this year, the program announced on Jan. 20. Candidates were chosen from the nearly 3.6 million students expected to graduate from U.S. high schools during the 2022-2023 school year.

Inclusion in the program “is one of the biggest honors bestowed upon graduating high school seniors.” Scholars are selected on the basis of superior academic and artistic achievements, leadership qualities, strong character and involvement in the community and school activities.

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was created in 1964 by an executive order of the president to recognize some the country’s most distinguished graduating seniors for their accomplishments in many areas. Every year up to 161 U.S. Presidential Scholars are chosen.

In the coming months, a panel of educators will review submissions and select approximately 600 semifinalists in early April. The Commission of Presidential Scholars will select the finalists and the U.S. Department of Education will announce the Scholars officially in May.

According to the list of U.S. Presidential Scholars Program candidates posted at www.ed.gov/psp, Iowa has 67 candidates this year.

“I am excited to be honored with this recognition,” Leo Friedman said. “It will be fun to see if I can become a semi-finalist now.”

Leo Friedman is the child of Bryan and Robyn Friedman, of Newton. In addition to being selected as a candidate for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, Leo Friedman was one of more than 16,000 semifinalists in the 68th annual Merit Scholarship Program, making him the third consecutive semifinalist at Newton.

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig has a strong passion for community journalism and covers city council, school board, politics and general news in Newton, Iowa and Jasper County.