Edmond North student Sharara Shabeeba Kasem has been selected as a 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholar, one of the nation’s highest honors bestowed upon a graduating high school senior.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced the 55th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars, Tuesday, May 7 recognizing 161 high school seniors for their accomplishments in academics, the arts and career and technical education fields.

Kasem scored a near-perfect 35 on the ACT College entrance exam and has taken 11 Advanced Placement classes while at Edmond North.  But her teachers say her variety and range of interests and involvement make her more than just another smart student.

“Beyond the classroom, Shabeeba’s achievements range from her dedication to debate to her involvement in various clubs to her long list of academic awards and honors.  Shabeeba is passionate about medicine, global health, and human rights, and, as a result, she has immersed herself in programs to enhance these interests,” said Advanced Placement Literature teacher Teri Walls. “She has been an active participant in speech and debate all four years at Edmond North.  She has also been a lead writer for “You Go Girl,” an online women’s empowerment platform and political journal.  What is important to note, however, is that Shabeeba doesn’t simply participate in these activities to bolster her resume.  Her interest in these activities (and many more) stems from her compassion, desire to serve others, and her keen social conscience.”   

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.

As directed by Presidential Executive Order, the 2019 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.

The Oklahoma students include Kasem and Julian Marcellus Zanders from Cascia Hall Preparatory School in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.

Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored over 7,500 of the nation’s top-performing students with an annual ceremony in Washington, D.C. The 2019 ceremony will be held June 23, when each honoree will receive a Presidential Scholar Medallion.

Kasem plans to attend Columbia University and hopes to become a surgeon focusing on public health.

A complete list of 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholars is also available at http://www.ed.gov/psp.