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WHS Senior Jillian Richardson Named U.S. Presidential Scholar Candidate


February 9, 2018


Wakulla High School senior Jillian Richardson has been named one of 4,500 candidates in the 2018 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. The candidates were selected from nearly 3.6 million students expected to graduate from U.S. high schools in 2018.


Inclusion in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, now in its 54th year, is a high honor. Scholars are selected on the basis of superior academic and artistic achievements, leadership qualities, strong character, and involvement in community and school activities.


Richardson was selected as a candidate because of her academic, career/technical, musical, leadership, and volunteer accomplishments. 


Her current objective is to earn scholarships to help in her pursuit of a degree in astrophysics.


“Jillian has taken full advantage of the programs we offer at Wakulla High,” says Superintendent Bobby Pearce. “She has excelled in the WHS Engineering Academy, the Culinary Arts program, the WHS Band, and has taken many AP (Advanced Placement) and TCC Dual Enrollment courses for college credit.”


With a current weighted grade point average of 4.4 plus a top ACT (American College Test) score, Richardson is already in line for academic scholarships, but the U.S. Presidential Scholar award is based on many other factors as well.


“Not only has Jillian earned an A in Dual Enrollment and AP classes,” says WHS Principal Mike Barwick, “the effort and excellent grades are in all subject areas across the board: English, math, science, and social studies.”


In addition, Richardson earned career/technical industry certifications in Autodesk Inventor used in the WHS Engineering Academy as well as Serve Safe and Safe Staff industry certifications through the WHS Culinary Arts Program. Industry certifications are accepted by employers as proof of successful training, and her culinary certifications prepared Richardson for her current job as a shift leader and cook at Myra Jean's Restaurant in Crawfordville.

Musically, Richardson is in her fourth year in the WHS Marching War Eagle Band.  Over the years, she has earned the highest high school band state rating of “Superior” playing the flute in the categories of Wind Ensemble, Woodwind Choir, Marching and Music Performance, and Flute Choir.


Some of her leadership and volunteer experiences include acting as President of the Education Enrichment Council that completes monthly community service projects and raises money for scholarships. She also has been Team Captain of a Relay for Life Team for cancer research and fundraising.


Richardson also was chosen to represent Wakulla County at the 2016 Hugh O’Brian State Leadership Seminar (HOBY).


The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964 by Executive Order of the President to recognize some of the nation’s most distinguished graduating seniors for their accomplishments.


A panel of distinguished educators will review the candidates’ submissions and select 600 semifinalists in early April.


The Commission on Presidential Scholars, a group of up to 32 eminent citizens appointed by the President, will narrow down the field to 161 winners. Then the U.S. Department of Education will announce these Presidential Scholars in May.


Scholars will be invited to an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. for several days in June to receive the Presidential Scholars Medallion at a recognition ceremony and to participate in events and activities.


During this trip, U.S. Presidential Scholars are guests of the U.S. Department of Education and the Commission to meet with government officials, educators, and other accomplished people.


Richardson is the daughter of Dan Richardson and Nancy Floyd Richardson.