Brian Josephson

South Medford student named Presidential Scholar

A South Medford High School senior is one of three Oregon students named as a U.S. Presidential Scholar.

Brian Josephson joins two Portland-area students and 158 other high school seniors nationally in receiving the award, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced Tuesday.

Josephson, who plans to attend the University of Oregon and major in public administration, was an organizer and speaker in Medford’s March For Our Lives rally on March 24, which drew an estimated 2,000 people to march and hear talks on school safety and gun reform. Medford’s march was an offshoot of the national March For Our Lives in Washington, D.C., which was organized by surviving students of the Feb. 14 shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school.

Josephson, who has a 3.98 grade point average, has participated in a wide range of extracurricular activities, including Math Club, Brain Bowl, speech and debate and Student Hunger Strikeforce. He has served as vice president and president of the state Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA), plays the violin in the school orchestra and works on the Second District congressional campaign of Democrat Tim White.

“These students have pushed themselves to be the best they can be,” Devos said of the scholar recipients in a release, “and I am certain that devotion will serve them well as they continue their individual learning journeys.”

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects scholars annually 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.”

Candidates qualified for the 2018 awards through their performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams or through nominations made by chief state school officers.

The 2018 U.S. Presidential Scholars are one male and one female from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and from U.S. families living abroad, as well as 15 chosen at-large, 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts and 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in Career and Technical Education.

Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has recognized almost 7,500 of the nation’s top-performing students. The 2018 ceremony will be held June 24 in Washington, D.C., when each honoree will receive a Presidential Scholar medallion.

The other Oregon recipients are Ameya Okamoto, of Catlin Gabel School in Portland, and Raley Schweinfurth, of Oregon Episcopal School, also in Portland.

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