Charleston, W.Va. – State Superintendent of Schools David L. Roach is pleased to congratulate West Virginia students who have been named U.S. Presidential Scholars by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) as well as those named National Merit Scholarship winners by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation®. These two prestigious programs honor outstanding achievements among top scholars throughout the country.

This year marks the 59th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars. Nationally, 161 high school students earned this award for their accomplishments in academics, the arts, and career and technical education.

West Virginia’s 2023 recipients are:

Name County
Dalton S. Cook Westside High School, Wyoming County
Rania Zuri Morgantown High School, Monongalia
**Isabella Mackenzie Herrod Liberty High School, Harrison County
(**U.S. Presidential Scholar in Career and Technical Education)

Each year students are selected for this award based on their academic success, artistic and technical excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, and demonstrated commitment to community service and leadership.

The scholars will participate in an online recognition program this summer. A complete list of the 2023 U.S. Presidential Scholars is available on the USDE website.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation also announced the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Winners. Students were chosen from more than 15,000 finalists resulting in 2,500 national awardees who each receive a $2,500 scholarship.

Students are selected based on their academic record, difficulty of subject matter, scores on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), essays and recommendations from school officials.

West Virginia’s National Merit Scholarship Winners are:

Name School County
Elijah A. Dillow Jefferson High School Jefferson County
Garrett T. Ferguson Frankfort High School Mineral County
Charles F. Frizzell Central Catholic High School Ohio County
Carter T. Herron Morgantown High School Monongalia County
Matthew W. Leasure Berkeley Spring High School Morgan County
Amy Lu Morgantown High School Monongalia County
Rohan Malik Parkersburg High School Wood County
Maxwell Oganian Pocahontas County High School Pocahontas County
Jeeya Y. Patel George Washington High School Kanawha County
Victoria K. Smith Keyser High School Mineral County
Patrick R. Ward George Washington High School Kanawha County
Thomas V. Ward Capital High School Kanawha County

To learn more about the National Merit Scholarship Program, visit

“These students have earned these esteemed awards and are to be commended for their academic excellence and their commitment to service,” said Superintendent Roach. “Each of them has earned the right to be called a U.S. Presidential Scholar or a National Merit Scholar – an honor they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.”

For media inquiries, contact Christy Day, West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications, at 304-558-2699 or

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