Local News

Rancho Santa Fe resident named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts candidate

Presidential Scholar
Jayden Gillespie

Canyon Crest Academy student and RSF resident Jayden Gillespie has been named one of 60 Presidential Scholar in the Arts candidates in 2017. The candidates were nominated from over 11,000 participants in the annual YoungArts competition conducted by the National YoungArts Foundation. If named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts, Jayden will be the first male African American high school student to have earned the honor. In addition to being a Presidential Scholar candidate, Jayden’s film “Slide” is also being featured in the 2017 24th Annual Latino Film Festival. Jayden is the son of Dr. Robert and Mrs. Lisa Gillespie.

Semifinalists will be announced early April and Scholars in May. 

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964 by Executive Order of the President to recognize some of the nation’s most distinguished graduating seniors for their accomplishments in many areas: academic success, leadership, and service to school and community. It was expanded in 1979 to recognize students demonstrating exceptional scholarship and talent in the visual, creative and performing arts. 

In 2015, the program was expanded once again to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical fields. Annually, up to 161 U.S. Presidential Scholars are chosen from among that year’s senior class, representing excellence in education and the promise of greatness in America’s youth. All Scholars are invited to Washington, DC in June for the National Recognition Program, featuring various events and enrichment activities and culminating in the presentation of the Presidential Scholars Medallion during a White House-sponsored ceremony.

For more information about the U.S. Presidential Scholars program, parents and students can call the Presidential Scholars Office at 507-931-8345, or send an e-mail to Visit