Senior named as Presidential Scholar in the Arts

Julian Andreone

United States Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona announced that Allison Park ’21 has been named as one of the 19  2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts on May 13.

The United States Presidential Scholar Program is a  selective process, created to recognize some of the most accomplished high school students in the graduating senior class each year. After being named a YoungArts finalist in December, Park participated in the virtual National YoungArts Week in January, during which the panelists nominated her to apply to the U.S. Presidential Scholar Program. 

Park said she was humbled to receive this recognition from Secretary Cardona. In addition,  she said she wishes she could travel to Washington D.C. to meet President Joseph R. Biden, but she is extremely excited to perform virtually.

“I was so excited and honored to have been selected as a 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts,” Park said. “Though I’m disappointed that we will not convene in Washington D.C. this summer to meet the president as well as perform live in the Kennedy Center, I am still excited to put together a virtual performance with the other 19 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts.”

Park shared her advice to students interested in the accomplishment

Park said she would advise other young students who hope to receive this honor to continue pursuing their passions. She did not expect to be in this position years ago, but continued to perfect her craft and was ultimately recognized for her efforts. 

“If you told me a few years ago that I would be a 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, I definitely wouldn’t believe you,” Park said. “These past few years, I’ve continued to pursue my musical studies through Colburn School without a specific end goal, such as this award. Eventually, I think everything just works out as long as you are passionate enough about something.”

Park was offered the opportunity, as is every other Presidential Scholar, to name her most influential teacher; she ultimately decided to name History Teacher Lilas Lane.  Lane said Allison is a mature young woman of strong character and incredible work ethic who deserves to be recognized for her various talents.

“I am thrilled, but not surprised, to learn that Allison was chosen as a Presidential Scholar this year,” Lane said. “Over the last few years, it has been a pleasure to watch Allison blossom into an exceptional and balanced young woman. She  is unquestionably brilliant and hard-working but more importantly, she is genuine, thoughtful, and one of those students who has a true love of learning across disciplines.”

Faculty and staff speak on Park’s talents

Sara Brookshire, Park’s Dean, said Park is an incredible representative of the school’s values and is deserving of being named a Presidential Scholar.

“Allison’s intellectual curiosity and genuine love of learning make her a truly distinct scholar who is held in the highest regard by faculty and students alike,” Brookshire said. “Allison is multi-talented and has found great success in all disciplines, challenging herself by taking on Harvard-Westlake’s most rigorous courses. She is the very best of what Harvard-Westlake stands for and we are so thrilled about Allison’s designation as a Presidential Scholar. We look forward to seeing all that Allison accomplishes as a student at Harvard University and beyond.”