Alaina Gebel advances among semifinalists in U.S. Presidential Scholars Program

Alaina Gebel ...
Alaina Gebel ...

Alaina Gebel, a graduating senior at Waukon High School and the daughter of Nate and Tami Gebel of rural Lansing, has been named one of 628 semifinalists in the 2023 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. The semifinalists were selected from over 5,000 candidates expected to graduate from U.S. high schools in the year 2023.

Gebel is a semifinalist for U.S. Presidential Scholar in Career and Technical Education. She is one of eight students from the state of Iowa to advance among this year’s overall semifinalists and one of two semifinalists from the state of Iowa in the program’s Career and Technical Education component. Another northeast Iowa student, Justin Berlage from Decorah High School, is also a semifinalist this year.

Inclusion in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, now in its 59th year, is one of the highest honors bestowed upon graduating high school seniors. Scholars are selected on the basis of their accomplishments in many areas, including academic and artistic success, accomplishment in career and technical fields, leadership, strong character and involvement in school and the community.

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964 by Executive Order of the President of the United States to recognize some of this nation’s most distinguished graduating seniors for their accomplishments in academics, 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. Each year Scholars are presented with a Presidential Scholars Medallion.

A distinguished panel of educators has reviewed these submissions and selected the 628 semifinalists. The Commission on Presidential Scholars, a group of up to 32 eminent citizens appointed by the President, will select the finalists, and the U.S. Department of Education will announce the Scholars in May.

The Presidential Scholars Class of 2023 will be recognized for their outstanding achievement in late June with an online National Recognition Program. For more information about the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, parents and students can call the U.S. Presidential Scholars Office at 507-931-8345, or send an email to