Great Hearts Academies Student Receives National Honor

Great Hearts Academies Student Receives National Honor

Great Hearts Academies is excited to announce that Amy Zhou, a senior at Scottsdale Preparatory Academy, was recently chosen by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos as a 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholar. Zhou is one of 161 outstanding American high school seniors who have demonstrated academic achievement, artistic excellence, technical expertise, leadership, citizenship, service and contribution to their school and community.

“I am incredibly honored to have been chosen among such an elite group of students,” said Zhou. “This award not only validates my years of hard work and dedication, but testifies to the amazing support I received from my family and teachers throughout high school.” 

Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored more than 7,500 of the nation’s top-performing students with the prestigious award given to honorees during the annual ceremony in D.C. This year it will be held June 23-25. The 2019 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.

“I want to congratulate this year’s class of Presidential Scholars on their achievement both inside of the classroom and out,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “Their hard work and commitment to excellence, no matter what challenge they are tackling, will serve them well throughout their lifelong learning journeys. I have no doubt that many of tomorrow’s leaders are among this year’s class of Scholars.”

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects honored scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic and technical excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals. Of the 3.6 million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 5,200 candidates qualified for the 2019 awards determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, and through nominations made by Chief State School Officers, other partner recognition organizations or the National YoungArts Foundation’s nationwide YoungArts™ program.

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. Since 1983, each U.S. Presidential Scholar has been offered the opportunity to name his or her most influential teacher. The teacher chosen for recognition by Zhou was Travis Clement of Scottsdale Preparatory Academy.

“Amy has worked so hard throughout her academic career here,” said headmaster at Scottsdale Preparatory Academy, Alison Chaney. “Teachers like Mr. Clement, are with them every step of the way to help push them to their full potential.”

Scottsdale Preparatory Academy is a member of the prestigious Great Hearts Academies network of prep schools in metro Phoenix. The public charter school has more than 760 students in grades 6th through 12th. It is located at 16537 N. 92nd St. in Scottsdale.

Great Hearts is a nonprofit network of tuition-free public charter schools dedicated to improving education nationwide through classical preparatory K-12 academies. More information can be found at

A complete list of 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholars is available at

About Great Hearts

Great Hearts is a nonprofit network of tuition-free public charter schools dedicated to improving education nationwide through classical preparatory K-12 academies. As the largest provider of liberal arts classical education campuses in the country, Great Hearts Academies serve more than 17,000 students at 29 tuition-free public schools in greater Phoenix, Ariz. and San Antonio and Irving, Texas, with waitlists that typically exceed enrollment. Great Hearts provides a robust liberal arts curriculum incorporating advanced math and science, a focus on the arts and foreign language, and a range of extra-curricular activities and athletics. Learn more at

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