Riley Cerabona

Ethan Eickmann

KENNEBUNK — Kennebunk High School seniors Riley Cerabona and Ethan Eickmann have been named as candidates for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.

Riley is the daughter of Kristen Davis and Mark Cerabona. She is active on the State Championship Debate Team and is involved in the school and local community theater and performing arts programs. She is a member of the audition-based Chamber Choir, the Tri-M Music Honor Society, and volunteers her time at Mainestage Children’s Shakespeare Camp. Riley’s true passion, according to the news release, is advocating for those with disabilities and taking action. As a junior, Riley received the George Washington Book Award.

Ethan, the son of James and Elizabeth Eickmann, participates in Math Team, Mock Trial, and Model UN as well as Jazz Band and the Debate Team. He has participated in four national debate tournaments and placed in the quarter final at the 2019 National Speech & Debate Tournament. Captain of the Track & Field and Cross Country teams, Ethan organizes the National Honor Society’s peer tutoring program and was the recipient of the Brandeis Book Award and the RIT Computing Medal as a junior.

Application is by invitation; candidates complete materials for review. Approximately 600 semifinalists are then selected based on their academic achievement, personal characteristics, leadership and service activities, and the quality and content of their essays.

In April, the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars reviews the applications of all semifinalists, applying the same criteria used by the review committee. The Commission selects up to 161 U.S. Presidential Scholars each year.

Finalists are honored for their accomplishments during the National Recognition Program, held in June in Washington, D.C. During this expenses-paid trip, the scholars are guests of the U.S. Department of Education and the Commission and meet with government officials, educators, and others and are awarded the Presidential Scholars Medallion at a ceremony sponsored by the White House.

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964. In 1979, the program was extended to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative, and performing arts. In 2015, the program was again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields.

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