Crystal Vargas

CHS Senior Named U.S. Presidential Scholar
Posted on 05/08/2019
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Carson High School’s (CHS) Crystal Giselle Vargas is one of three Nevada students, among the 161 high school seniors nationwide, to be named as U.S. Presidential Scholars.  the U.S. Department of Education announced today. She was named a U.S. Presidential Scholar in Career and Technical Education. Vargas and three other CHS students were picked last December as Presidential Scholars candidates representing Carson High.

As part of the judging criteria, Vargas created and proposed an Emergency Medical Preparedness Plan for Carson High School and established a partnership between the Carson High School HOSA chapter and the Nevada Medical Reserve Corp. For the CTE component, students are initially selected based on their accomplishments in career and technical education fields.

"Crystal is a shining star in our HOSA program," said Kelly Gustafson, CHS CTE health sciences teacher. "She has served as our chapter secretary 17-18, as well as our vice president currently 18-19. I am excited about her future opportunities and what she will do after high school."

Vargas has been the MRC (Medical Reserves Corp) Partnership student leader for the last 2 years, Gustafson continued. Her team took first place in Nevada at HOSA SLC 2018 & qualified to attend 2018 HOSA ILC where they placed tenth in the nation. This year the team took second in Nevada & will be attending ILC in Orlando this June. Vargas is also part of the EMT & CNA pathways at CHS. She has already passed the CNA State Licensing test as well as the State CTE EMT End of Program test and the Workplace Readiness test. She will take her EMT National Registry Skills Test in a few weeks and sit for the National Registry Written Test this summer.

Two other Nevada seniors were also picked: Arthur Acuna, from Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas and Ananya Sahiba Dewan, of North Las Vegas, Northwest Career and Tech Academy.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos made the announcement Tuesday, May 7, of the 55th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars, recognizing 161 high school seniors for their accomplishments in academics, the arts and career and technical education fields.

“I want to congratulate this year’s class of Presidential Scholars on their achievement both inside of the classroom and out,” DeVos said. “Their hard work and commitment to excellence, no matter what challenge they are tackling, will serve them well throughout their lifelong learning journeys. I have no doubt that many of tomorrow’s leaders are among this year’s class of Scholars.”

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 evidence of community service, leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.

Of the 3.6 million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 5,200 candidates qualified for the 2019 awards determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams or through nominations made by Chief State School Officers, other partner recognition organizations and the National YoungArts Foundation’s nationwide YoungArts™ competition.

As directed by Presidential Executive Order, the 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholars are comprised of 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 7,500 of the nation’s top-performing students with an annual ceremony in Washington, D.C. 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 2019 ceremony will be held June 23, when each honoree will receive a Presidential Scholar Medallion. A complete list of 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholars follows and is also available at