4 Chicago area students selected as 2024 Presidential Scholars

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CHICAGO - Five Illinois high school seniors, including four from the Chicago area, are among 161 students from across the nation who have been named 2024 U.S. Presidential Scholars.

Pradyumn Bonu, of Buffalo Grove, Ryan He, of Charleston, Intisar Alkhatib, of Chicago, Sai Peddainti, of Naperville, and Zuyu Liu, of Palatine, were named in the 60th class on Thursday, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Education.

"The 161 high school seniors selected for the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Presidential Scholars represent the best of our nation’s schools and inspire hope in the bright future of this country," U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a statement.

"On behalf of President Biden, I am delighted to celebrate their accomplishments, and encourage these scholars to continue to aim high, lift up others, and embrace opportunities to lead," Cardona added.

<div>The Presidential Scholars Program medal.</div> <strong>(U.S. Presidential Scholars Foundation)</strong>
The Presidential Scholars Program medal.
(U.S. Presidential Scholars Foundation)

The Illinois scholars currently attend the following schools:

  • Pradyumn Bonu, Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire;

  • Ryan He, University of Illinois Laboratory High School in Urbana;

  • Intisar A. Alkhatib, Lincoln Park High School in Chicago;

  • Sai Peddainti, Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora; and 

  • Zuyu Liu, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora.

The honor, which is selected annually by the U.S. Department of Education, recognizes high school seniors for their academic success, artistic and technical excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as community service, leadership and commitment to high ideals.

Of the 3.7 million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 5,700 qualified for the honor, according to the statement.

Officials said this year’s scholars will be recognized this summer.

A complete list of 2024 U.S. Presidential Scholars is available online.