Amy Zhang among Mississippi's Nine U.S. Presidential Scholar Semifinalists

JACKSON, Miss. –  The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) announced today that the outgoing Mississippi State Board of Education (SBE) senior student representative Amy Zhang of Starkville is one of nine Mississippi students selected as semifinalists for the 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. The program honors the nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors.

Amy attends the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science in Columbus. She was appointed as the SBE junior representative in 2020. 

Mississippi’s other U.S. Presidential Scholar semifinalists for 2022 are listed below:

  • Dia Chawla of Pillow Academy in Greenwood
  • Kylar DeLoach of Enterprise High School in Enterprise
  • Jeffrey Jordan of Jackson Preparatory School in Jackson
  • Sarah Leroux of Madison Central High School in Madison
  • Madeline Pitre of Biloxi High School in Biloxi
  • Wesley Smalley of Florence High School in Florence
  • Ritchie Yang of Petal High School in Petal
  • Yujie Yang of Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg

Madeline and Ritchie, along with Amy, are also members of MDE’s Student Advisory Council.

Mississippi’s semifinalists were selected from among more than 5,000 candidates nationwide. A total of 620 high school seniors were selected as semifinalists for 2022. These students form the pool from which the 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholars will be chosen.

The 2022 Presidential Scholars are chosen on the basis of their accomplishments in many areas – academic and artistic success, accomplishment in career and technical fields, leadership, and involvement in school and the community. The scholars represent excellence in education and the promise of greatness in America’s young people.

“Mississippi is represented well among the nation’s top high school scholars once again,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “I join with these students’ families, teachers, schools and communities in congratulating them for receiving this national recognition.”

Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program honors the nation’s top-performing students with the prestigious award given to honorees during the annual ceremony in D.C. The program was later expanded to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the arts and career and technical education fields. The 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholars will be announced in mid-May.



The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science is pleased to announce that five students received recognition and awards in the 2018 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards Contest. This state-wide contest was open to students grades 7-12 across a variety of art and writing disciplines. This year, there were almost 2,000 unique entries. Scholastic recognizes three levels, gold key, silver key, and honorable mention works of art. Gold Key award winners represent the very best works submitted and are automatically considered for national-level recognition. Silver Key winners are those works that demonstrate exceptional craft and ability. Honorable Mention winners are those with great skill and talent. MSMS would like to congratulate the following students for their incredible achievements in the Scholastic Art and Writing Contest:

Gold Key –                              Maggie Ellis – “Gandolf” and “Victor the Octopus”

                                                Mary Owings – “Al Poochino” and “Suppertime”

                                                Helen Peng – “Hear Me?”

Silver Key –                              Mary Owings – “Playful”

                                                 Helen Peng – “Rooster”

Honorable Mention –                Helen Peng – “That Body” and “Blue”

                                                  Lilian Le –  “Spring Wishes”