Barber named U.S. Presidential Scholars Program candidate

Jackson Newspapers
Jackson Newspapers

Kagan Barber, a senior at Seneca School for Success and Pima JTED, has been named a Career and Technical Education (CTE) candidate as part of the 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. The Career and Technical Education candidates were nominated by their Chief State School Officers based on their accomplishments in career and technical education fields.

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964 by Executive Order of the President to recognize some of our nation’s most distinguished graduating seniors for their accomplishments in many areas: academic success, leadership, and service to school and community. It was expanded in 1979 to recognize students demonstrating exceptional scholarship and talent in the visual, creative, and performing arts. In 2015, the program was expanded once again to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical fields. Annually, up to 161 U.S. Presidential Scholars are chosen from among that year’s senior class, representing excellence in education and the promise of greatness in America’s youth. If circumstances permit, all Scholars are invited to Washington, DC in June for the National Recognition Program, featuring various events and enrichment activities and culminating in the presentation of the Presidential Scholars Medallion during a White House-sponsored ceremony.

The commission on Presidential Scholars, a group of up to 32 eminent citizens appointed by the President, will select the finalists, and the U.S. Department of Education will announce the 161 Scholars in May. Of these, up to 20 will be selected as U.S. Presidential Scholars in Career and Technical Education.

Aside from his Career and Technical Education (CTE) experience Barber is an active member of the Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) where he serves as president. Additionally, he is a coach at Playformance, a youth and parkour gym in Tucson, Arizona. Playformance serves the whole child and supports students as they develop the cognitive, physical, emotional, and social skills needed for unified community. Barber is also a member of 4-H healthy living ambassadors (HLA) which is designed to empower youth and encourage them to maintain physical and psychological health.

Barber is the son of Raymond Barber and Kami Blackhurst. He is the great-grandson of Edana Hope Travis, a Jackson County centenarian. Additionally, he has extended family living in Ravenswood and Charleston. He hopes that his recognition gives him the means to inspire others to pursue their passions in order to live a fulfilling and productive life.