Kealakehe Senior Named Presidential Scholar

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Kealakehe High School senior Kea E. Kahoilua-Clebsch was named as one of two Hawai‘i scholars in the 58th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona announced on Friday, May 13.

This year’s class recognized 161 high school seniors for their accomplishments in academics, the arts, and career and technical education fields.

Kea was one of six Hawai‘i semifinalists for the award and the only semifinalist enrolled in a Hawai‘i public school.

“A huge congratulations to Kea on this extremely prestigious national recognition,” Hawai‘i State Department of Education interim Superintendent Keith Hayashi said. “Kea’s achievements are so impressive and her level of academic motivation and dedication are inspiring. We are very proud to have Kea represent her school, our state and our public schools, and we look forward to witnessing all that she will accomplish in the future.”


“We are very proud of Kea,” added Kealakehe High School Principal Dr. James Denight. “Her accomplishments represent the collective hard work of her family, fellow students, diligent teachers and amazing school staff. Kea represents our Kealakehe community well, and we hope all of our students aspire to be a community steward like she is.”

Kea has a cumulative GPA of 4.316, taking 14 advanced placement (AP) courses and four college courses throughout her high school career. She is involved in her school’s Model United Nations, Pacific and Asian Affairs Council and American Rocketry clubs and has also won several awards for science and art. Kea was selected to receive a full four-year scholarship to attend Stanford University where she plans to major in comparative race and ethnic studies with a minor in fine arts.

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 a demonstrated commitment to community service and leadership.


As directed by Presidential Executive Order, the 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholars comprise 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 7,900 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 2022 will be recognized for their outstanding achievement this summer with an online recognition program.


A complete list of 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholars is available at

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