Zoe Simon of Hailey, Wood River High School’s 2020 valedictorian, has been named a U.S. Presidential Scholar.
Simon is one of three high school seniors in Idaho to receive the honor. The other two are Blaine Dillingham of Boise and Jieyan Wang of Moscow.
“I’m proud to have these outstanding young Idahoans representing their communities and our state on the national stage,” Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra said in a statement. “This prestigious honor recognizes their scholarship, leadership, accomplishments and contributions to their schools and communities.”
Simon has also been recognized as a National Merit Scholarship winner and a Coca-Cola Scholar. She is the founder and CEO of STEAM ON, a nonprofit that provides free tutoring to underserved students. She plans to attend Princeton University in the fall.
Typically, two students from Idaho are named Presidential Scholars each year, one boy and one girl. This year, Wang was named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts, bringing the count to three.
Presidential Scholars are usually given an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., in June to participate in a ceremony at the White House. That tradition has been derailed this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Commission on Presidential Scholars and the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program are developing a plan to recognize this year’s scholars online, according to the Idaho Department of Education.