Gareth (Gary) Wu, a recent graduate of Grand Forks Central High School, has been named a 2020 U.S. Presidential Scholar in Career and Technical Education. He is one of 20 students nationwide to receive the honor in this category.

Selection as a Presidential Scholar is one of the nation’s highest honors a graduating high school student can receive.

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects honored scholars annually based on their academic success, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.

The honor is “well deserved for Gary’s remarkable accomplishments,” said Eric Ripley, director of CTE for Grand Forks Public Schools.

As a local and state DECA officer and member of Future Business Leaders of America and the National Honor Society, Wu has been actively involved in CTE programs, Ripley said.

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“Gary represents the best of the best of students and is an inspiring young adult leader in our community," said Superintendent Terry Brenner. "When COVID-19 suspended our face-to-face school year, Gary rallied students and adults alike to spread Grand Forks Public Schools’ positivity on Twitter. He leads by example.”

“Gary’s years at Grand Forks Central have been spent not only taking a diverse and challenging array of courses, but he is also a student leader in many ways, most notably in extracurricular activities," Jon Strandell, principal at Grand Forks Central High School said. "His energetic and positive personality combined with his drive to better himself and those around him, make him the consummate scholar, community member and role model for younger students.”

In other categories, the Presidential Scholars Program also recognizes distinguished graduating seniors nationwide who exemplify academic excellence and who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative and performing arts.

Wu and 160 other 2020 Presidential Scholars selected nationwide will be recognized for their achievement this summer as public health circumstances permit.

Established in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was extended in 1979 to recognize students in the arts and was extended again in 2015 to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields.

Two other North Dakota students, Hanna Johnson, Richland High School in Abercrombie, N.D., and Jacob Shelver, Fargo North High School, also were selected as U.S. Presidential Scholars in CTE this year.

As a student at Grand Forks Central High School, Evan Welsh was named a U.S. Presidential Scholar in CTE in 2017. He attends Cornell University.