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Madison Metropolitan School District

Memorial Senior Named 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholar

Memorial senior Ananya Krishna was barely even out of bed when she checked her email the morning of May 12, still bleary eyed as she opened the first message; an email from the U.S. Department of Education, informing her she was selected as one of only 161 high school seniors across the country to be named a 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholar.

“I was in so much shock that I quite literally started screaming,” Krishna said. “My parents thought I had finally lost it, but when I informed them of the news, we all started screaming. Sorry neighbors!”

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 a demonstrated commitment to community service and leadership. It’s considered the nation's highest honors for high school students since its inception in 1964.

Krishna was invited to be a candidate as a result of her high standardized test scores. After completing a long application with information about her extracurriculars and academics, several essays, and many letters of recommendation, Krishna felt like it was “applying to college all over again.” More than 5,000 students nationwide applied to the program in 2022.

“My motivation stems both from my appreciation and from my desire to create change,” Krishna said. “I consider myself so privileged to be able to learn each day in a supportive environment, and I also firmly believe that knowledge is the key to solving global challenges.” 

In addition to her commitment to academics, Krishna is active in school extracurriculars. Last year, she started Memorial MEDLIFE, a student-run chapter that raises funds for Latin American health service projects and advocates for global health equity. This spring, Krishna placed second in the Hospitality Management event at the Future Business Leaders of America State Leadership Conference. She also completed her state officer term as the Region 5 Vice President.

Krishna can cite dozens of scenarios in which numerous Memorial staff have supported her academically and mentally, from hand-delivering a biology textbook to her house, to reaffirming her self-confidence and trust in herself.

“I don’t have enough words to describe the impact that my teachers have had on me,” Krishna said. “The overall support from Mr. Hendrickson and administration has been truly wonderful. The advice I received from upperclassmen in my early years of high school has also been so meaningful and insightful.”

Next year, Krishna will matriculate to Yale University, pursuing her passions in biology, global health, and social justice. She also wants to further her involvement with music and opera, searching for a career that merges the sciences and humanities.

“To me, education is a gift–my parents have made many sacrifices to provide me with incredible opportunities, give me consistent encouragement, and support me fully,” Krishna said. “And, by consistently pushing myself to strive for better with each accomplishment, my self-improvement will hopefully lead me towards my longer-term goals with aiding marginalized communities in the field of healthcare.”