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Richland School District Two has two candidates in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. Emilei M. Addington of Ridge View High School and Taahera B. Islam of Spring Valley High School are among more than 100 candidates in South Carolina and thousands nationally competing in the program. The U.S. Presidential Scholars program was created to recognize and honor some of our nation's most distinguished graduating high school seniors. Each year, up to 161 students are named as Presidential Scholars.

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects honored scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.

U.S. Presidential Scholars Program is a recognition program and Scholars receive the U.S. Presidential Scholars medallion in commemoration of their achievements.

Emilei M. Addington, Ridge View High School
Addington is a student in the Scholars Academy Magnet for Business and Law as well as the School for the Arts at Ridge View. She plans to study Civil and Environmental Engineering after graduation. 

Addington said, "Despite how nerve-racking and stressful everything has been these past four years, recognitions like this make all of my hard work so far feel totally worth it. I am excited and nervous as I continue to apply for the next stage of this process, and I appreciate everything that all of my teachers and friends have done to support me in everything I've done so far."

Her extracurricular activities include: National Honor Society (Vice President), Tri-M Music Honor Society (President), National Art Honor Society, Marching Band Color Guard/Winter Guard, orchestra, and TedxYouth@Columbia. 

Taahera B. Islam, Spring Valley High School
Islam is a student in the Discovery Magnet program at Spring Valley and recently studied the effect of smartphone induced brain-drain on over 900 high school students. After graduation, she plans to study economics and anthropology, focusing on global influence and multicultural awareness. 

Islam said, “Being selected as a candidate for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program acknowledges all of the work I have put into my future over the past four years. Participating in so many extracurricular activities while undergoing an academically rigorous course load has not always been easy, but I am proud of myself for persevering through it all.”

Her extracurricular activities include serving as Winter Days senior chair, leading the school's largest student-run service project. She is president of their local HOSA chapter as well as her local mosque youth group. Additionally, Islam is vice-president of the Interact club, a service-based organization, an officer of the National Honor Society, and a member of Mu Alpha Theta, Science National Honor Society, and Rho Kappa.