Governor Laura Kelly today announced that three Kansas students are included in the 57th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars for their accomplishments in academics, the arts, and career and technical education fields.

The Kansas scholars are:  

  • Khushi Kohli, Olathe North High School, Olathe, Kansas.
  • Charles B. Horner, Shawnee Mission South High School, Overland Park, Kansas.
  • Aishani Saxena, Blue Valley West High School, Overland Park, Kansas.

“Achieving this level of academic success requires hard work and perseverance in any year, but COVID-19 presented new and unexpected challenges for all,” Governor Kelly said. “Khushi, Charles, and Aishani faced these obstacles head-on, and emerged among the top students in the country. I offer them my sincerest congratulations on this outstanding achievement. They make Kansas proud.”    

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic and technical excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals. This year, 161 high school seniors were chosen.

Of the 3.6 million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 6,000 candidates qualified for the 2021 awards determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT or ACT exams or through nominations made by Chief State School Officers, other partner recognition organizations and the National YoungArts Foundation’s nationwide YoungArts™ program.

“The 2021 Presidential Scholars represent extraordinary achievements for our extraordinary times,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said. “I am delighted to join President Biden in saluting these outstanding young people for their achievements, service, character and continued pursuit of excellence. Their examples make me proud and hopeful about the future. Honoring them can remind us all of the great potential in each new generation and renew our commitment to helping them achieve their dreams.”

As directed by Presidential Executive Order, the 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars are comprised of one young man and one young woman from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and U.S. families living abroad, as well as 15 chosen at-large, 20 Scholars in the arts and 20 Scholars in career and technical education. 

Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored over 7,600 of the nation’s top-performing students. The program was expanded in 1979 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, literary and performing arts. In 2015, the program was again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields.

The Presidential Scholars Class of 2021 will be recognized for their outstanding achievement this summer.

A complete list of 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars is also available at