Provo High School's art department couldn't be happier with the announcement of the school's first Presidential Scholar in the arts.
Senior Kenny Yang was recognized this week by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars for his talents in the creative and performing arts. He was selected along with 19 other students throughout the nation."There couldn't be a greater honor for us here," said Dennis Zupan, art instructor at Provo High. "It's nice to have a little recognition for artists. I can't recall anyone ever winning. We've had presidential scholars, but not in the talent area."
For someone like Yang, however, making award-winning ceramic pieces comes natural. "It's not very hard to get an idea," he said.
At first Yang wasn't going to even enter the arts contest, but Zupan encouraged him to do so.
"I got a lot of help from teachers and everybody. They were very encouraging," he said.
From 500 semifinalists nationwide, Yang was chosen as one of 141 graduating seniors to be a Presidential Scholar. Of those 141, 20 students are recognized for their talents in art.
Yang will travel to Washington, D.C., June 12-16 for National Recognition Week where he will receive the Presidential Scholar medallion at a White House ceremony. His work will be exhibited at the Kennedy Center during that week.
He became a Presidential Scholar candidate after earning the Level 1 award in the 1988 Art Recognition and Talent Search, a program of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts.
The Presidential Scholar program, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Education, recognizes distinguished and accomplished students in each state on the basis of academic or artistic achievements, leadership qualities and involvement in community and school activities.
Yang will attend Brigham Young University this fall on a full tuition scholarship. He is taking pottery and music classes at BYU under a concurrent enrollment program.