NEW YORK, NY (May 12, 2022) – Eason Rytter, 2022 YoungArts award winner in theater, from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music, Art, and the Performing Arts in New York City, has been named a 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts. The U.S. Presidential Scholars award—one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students who exemplify artistic and academic excellence, leadership qualities and community service—is presented on behalf of the President of the United States and honors up to 161 graduating high school seniors of high potential each year. This year marks the 58th anniversary of the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program and the 43rd anniversary of the U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts. A full list of 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts can be found here.
Rytter joins an illustrious group of YoungArts award winners and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts alumni, including Tony Award-nominated performer and choreographer Desmond Richardson; Los Angeles Music Center President Rachel S. Moore; novelist and National Book Award Finalist Allegra Goodman; Grammy Award-winning violinist Jennifer Koh; Bravo’s “Work of Art” winner Abdi Farah; Obie Award-winning actress Donna Lynne Champlin; and RCA Records award-winning singer-songwriter and Grammy Award-nominated artist Chris Young.
As part of the application process, nominees for the U.S. Presidential Scholars were asked to write about the high school teacher who has most influenced their development. Mala Tsantilas, of the Drama Studio at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School was nominated by Eason Rytter. Tsantilas is also recognized as a U.S. Presidential Scholars Distinguished Teacher. A list of the 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholars Distinguished Teachers can be found here:
List of Distinguished Teachers PDF
Students who would like to be considered for U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts in the future must first apply to the YoungArts arts competition.
“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,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “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.”
Lauren Snelling, artistic director of YoungArts, said, “The 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts demonstrate both a dedication to academic achievement and a commitment to creativity in mediums spanning the visual, literary and performing arts. YoungArts is incredibly proud to celebrate these young artists today and to amplify their innovative perspectives as they grow to become the arbiters of our nation’s cultural compass tomorrow.”
BECOMING A U.S. PRESIDENTIAL SCHOLAR IN THE ARTS
The first step to becoming a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts is to apply to YoungArts, which is the nominating agency for this honor. To be eligible for the YoungArts program, applicants must be 15–18 years old or in high school grades 10–12. To be further considered for a nomination as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, applicants must be high school seniors and meet all of the U.S. Presidential Scholars requirements. YoungArts award winners demonstrating excellence in the performing, visual or literary arts are selected annually through a blind adjudication process. This year, 720 YoungArts award winners were selected. In January, 157 Finalists from across the nation were invited to National YoungArts Week+, where they participated in a week of intensive virtual classes and workshops with internationally renowned artists.
During National YoungArts Week+, eligible participants are further evaluated, award levels are determined, and nominations are made for that year’s U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts candidates. After a rigorous selection process, YoungArts nominates 60 candidates for an invitation to apply to the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. Finally, the Commission on Presidential Scholars selects 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts each year.
ABOUT U.S. PRESIDENTIAL SCHOLARS
In 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established by executive order of President Lyndon B. Johnson to recognize and honor the nation’s top graduating high school seniors. In 1979, the program was extended to recognize students who demonstrated talent in the visual, creative and performing arts. In 2015, the program was again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields.
Scholars are selected annually by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, appointed by the President, based on academic achievement, personal characteristics, leadership and service activities, and writing ability. This year, about 5,000 candidates qualified for the 2022 program determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, through nominations made by Chief State School Officers, or other partner recognition programs or YoungArts.
Since its inception, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored almost 8,000 of the nation’s high-performing students. U.S. Presidential Scholars are honored for their accomplishments during the National Recognition Program each June. To commemorate their achievement, the Scholars are awarded the Presidential Scholars Medallion.
The 161 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 from U.S. families living abroad, as well as 15 chosen at-large, 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts, and 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in Career and Technical Education.
YoungArts was established in 1981 by Lin and Ted Arison to identify the most accomplished young artists in the visual, literary and performing arts and provide them with creative and professional development opportunities throughout their careers. Entrance into this prestigious organization starts with a highly competitive application process for talented artists ages 15–18, or grades 10–12 in the United States. Applications are adjudicated through a rigorous blind process by esteemed discipline-specific panels of artists. All YoungArts award winners receive financial awards and the chance to learn from notable artists such as Debbie Allen, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Germane Barnes, Wynton Marsalis, Salman Rushdie and Mickalene Thomas. YoungArts award winners are further eligible for exclusive opportunities including: nomination as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, one of the nation’s highest honors for high school seniors; a wide range of creative development support including fellowships, residencies and awards; professional development programs offered in partnership with major institutions nationwide; additional financial support; and access to YoungArts Post, a private, online portal for YoungArts artists to connect, share their work and discover new opportunities.
Past YoungArts award winners include Daniel Arsham, Terence Blanchard, Camille A. Brown, Timothée Chalamet, Viola Davis, Amanda Gorman, Judith Hill, Jennifer Koh, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Andrew Rannells, Desmond Richardson and Hunter Schafer. For more information, visit youngarts.org, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.