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May 4, 2007

ISAC Salutes Six Illinois Presidential Scholars
Agency cites high school students for “highest academic achievement”

CHICAGO, IL – The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) today saluted the six high school students from Illinois who were named 2007 Presidential Scholars by the U.S. Department of Education this week.

 The six high school students were among 141 outstanding high school seniors nationwide who will travel to Washington D.C. – along with their most inspiring teacher – on June 23 to be honored.

 The Illinois honorees include:
  Derrick Cooper of Belleville, who attends Belleville Township High School West;
  Emily Disbrow of Wheaton, who attends Wheaton-Warrenville South High School;
  Ilana Goldberg of Highland Park, who attends Highland Park High School;
  Alexander Krey of Lake Forest, who attends Thacher School;
  Phoebe Rusch of Highland Park, who attends the Interlochen Arts Academy, and
  Mahesh Vidula of Naperville, who attends the Illinois Math and Science Academy.

 The 141 Presidential Scholars include one young man and one young woman from each state, plus several selected at-large or for their excellence in the visual or performing arts.  The students are chosen by a 27-member Commission on Presidential Scholars which was created by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.  The selections are based on academic success, community involvement, essays and teacher evaluations.  There is no cash award, but it is a prestigious recognition for the students.

 “These six students are the best and the brightest of the Class of 2007, and Illinois is so proud of them,” said Andy Davis, ISAC Executive Director, whose agency has overseen the Illinois State Scholars program since 1958.  “We salute them, as well as their families, teachers and schools for this national recognition.”

 Three of the 2007 Presidential Scholars were also honored as 2007 Illinois State Scholars by ISAC: Emily Disbrow, Ilana Goldberg and Mahesh Vidula.
This year, ISAC recognized 17,093 high school students from across the state as Illinois State Scholars.  Illinois State Scholar winners rank in the top ten percent of the state’s high school seniors from 897 high schools in all 102 counties.  Selection is based on SAT, ACT and/or Prairie State Achievement Exam scores, and/or class rank at the end of the junior year.  As with the Presidential Scholars, the Illinois State Scholars carries with it no cash award, but students are encouraged to include it on applications for college admissions or scholarships.

 Created in 1957, ISAC is the state’s central provider of college aid.  The agency oversees the successful Monetary Award Program (MAP), and other scholarship, grant and loan programs.  Last year, ISAC issued 185,000 grants totaling $400 million and guaranteed $1.24 billion in loans to 232,631 students.  Its 529 prepaid tuition program – College Illinois! – has allowed Illinois families to prepay more than $1 billion in tuition and fees.  For more information, visit www.collegezone.com.


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