By Erik S. Hanley 

MEQUON - The U.S. Department of Education has nominated two Homestead High School students as U.S. Presidential Scholar candidates.

Alexander Cayer and William Clark are among 62 high school seniors from Wisconsin and 5,000 nominated nationwide, according to a news release from the Mequon-Thiensville School District.

Three paths of accomplishment give students the opportunity to become Presidential Scholars, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Approximately 20 additional students are selected based on their academic and artistic scholarship in visual arts, performing arts, or creative writing. Another 20 are selected based on their accomplishments in career and technical education fields.


The district release said most scholars are selected on the basis of “broad academic achievement.”

“Both young men are committed students and tremendous citizens of our school community,” Homestead Principal Brett Bowers said. “Throughout their time at Homestead, each has made a profound, positive impact in and beyond the classroom. They are completely deserving of this honor.”

The application is by invitation only, meaning students can’t apply individually to the program nor can a school nominate students. Once selected, candidates submit candidacy materials which include essays, self-assessments, secondary school reports, and transcripts for review and to confirm their interest.

About 800 of the original 5,000 will be named semifinalists and forwarded to the Commission on Presidential Scholars for further review. Each year, the commission selects up to 161 U.S. Presidential Scholars.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Presidential Scholars program was established in 1964 by presidential executive order “to recognize and honor some of our nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors.”

The program extended in 1979 to include students with talent in the visual, creative, and performing arts. Again, the program expanded in 2015 to include students with ability in career and technical education.