Plainview's Zimmerman named finalist for Presidential Scholars Award

Michael D. Smith
The Daily Ardmoreite

A Plainview High School senior remains a candidate for one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students. Jessica Zimmerman is among over 500 seniors who are semifinalists for the prestigious academic award. 

Zimmerman has been named as semifinalists for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Award by the U.S. Department of Education. At least two students from every state and U.S. territory are selected for the honor each year. 

Applications for the award are by invitation only based on SAT or ACT scores or a nomination from state education officials, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Out of nearly 3.5 million graduating high school seniors across the country, over 6,500 were selected as candidates. 

Zimmerman is among eight other Oklahoman’s being considered and is the only semifinalist from southern Oklahoma. 

“We are proud to salute these exceptional seniors, who have excelled in the face of an unprecedented pandemic that has impacted all schools. Their dedication, resilience and leadership in their schools and communities are to be commended,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister in a Friday statement. 

The Plainview senior has received multiple recognitions for her academic achievements this school year. Last month she was also selected as one of the top high school seniors in the state by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence and is a finalist for a National Merit Scholarship. 

She was also recognized by the College Board National Recognition Program as a Rural and Small Town Scholar and has received numerous local art and academic awards. In February she told The Ardmoreite that she hoped to study political science or environmental science in college. 

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Award dates back to 1964 and is an effort to recognize the nation’s top high school students. The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects scholars based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals. 

Finalists are expected to be announced later this month. Those chosen receive an expense-paid trip to Washington, D. C. in June and are presented the U.S. Presidential Scholars medallion at a ceremony sponsored by the White House.