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Governor Ned Lamont


Governor Lamont, State Education Commissioner Cardona Congratulate Three Connecticut Students Named 2020 U.S. Presidential Scholars

Farmington, Greenwich, and Meriden Residents Receive One of the Nation’s Highest Honors for High School Students

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont and State Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona today are congratulating three Connecticut residents who were named as 2020 U.S. Presidential Scholars for their accomplishments in academics, the arts, and career and technical education fields. The recognition is one of the nation’s highest honors for graduating high school seniors.

The recipients include:

  • Cynthia Chen of Riverside – Greenwich High School
  • Brandon Demkowicz of Farmington – Farmington High School
  • Elizabeth Ann Wozniak of Meriden – Orville H. Platt High School (scholar for U.S. Presidential Scholar in Career and Technical Education)

The U.S. Department of Education selected the program’s 56th class of 161 scholars from a national pool of 621 student semifinalists, who were nominated for their high academic performance and distinguishing themselves by overcoming hardships, achieving a unique accomplishment, or demonstrating outstanding leadership.

“We couldn’t be more proud to have three young people from Connecticut receive one of the nation’s top honors for high school students, and I offer my congratulations to Cynthia, Brandon and Elizabeth on this accomplishment,” Governor Lamont said. “They represent some of the very best of our state, and I applaud their perseverance and drive, which led to this national recognition.”

“These remarkable Connecticut students demonstrated high academic achievement in the face of extreme adversity, such as difficult family situations, mobility and immigration issues, and assimilating into a new culture and learning English, while attending school and working to help support themselves and their families,” Commissioner Cardona said. “Despite all of the adversity they faced, these students managed to continue achieving success in their academic lives, while also developing musical talents, participating in community service, pursuing varied and interesting career paths, and even excelling in athletics. The achievements of these outstanding students deserve acknowledgement. We are proud of Cynthia, Brandon, and Elizabeth for their academic achievements, the strength of their character, their commitment to community, their leadership, and their unwavering perseverance. They are truly an inspiration to all of us and we congratulate them on this well-deserved honor.”

Each year, the U.S. Department of Education invites states to nominate students for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. The Connecticut State Department of Education invites school districts to recommend students for the program, and this year received the names of 51 extraordinary young people from 24 districts across the state.

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects scholars 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.

The Presidential Scholars Class of 2020 will be recognized for their outstanding achievement this summer as public health circumstances permit.

To learn more about the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, visit


For Immediate Release: May 22, 2020
Contact: David Bednarz

Office of Governor Ned Lamont
860-770-9792 (cell)


Contact: Peter Yazbak

State Department of Education

860-471-3518 (cell)


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