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Southside Students Selected as Candidates for U.S. Presidential Scholars Program

Fort Smith Public Schools congratulates Southside High School seniors Haris Rana, son of Javed and Sara Rana, and Jackson Minnick, Son of Mark and Autumn Minnick (FSPS teachers), on their recent selection as candidates for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. 

Both Haris and Jackson are one of more than 4,500 candidates in the 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, selected from nearly 3.6 million students expected to graduate from U.S. high schools in the year 2021.

Scholars are selected on the basis of superior academic and artistic achievements, leadership qualities, strong character and involvement in community and school activities. 

“FSPS continues to provide opportunities with programs like the Superintendent Scholars that encourage students to extend their learning opportunities. Haris and Jackson have both demonstrated their commitment to excel to the highest levels of academic achievement, and we are very proud of them,” said Dr. Ginni McDonald, Director of Secondary Education, Fort Smith Public Schools. 

“I am so proud of Haris and Jackson for all they have accomplished and continue to accomplish academically. This achievement is very special, and they should be very proud,” said Dr. Lisa Miller, Southside High School Principal.

A distinguished panel of educators will review these submissions and select approximately 600 semifinalists in early April. 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 Scholars in May. 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, scholars will be invited to Washington, DC, for several days in June to receive the Presidential Scholars Medallion at a recognition ceremony and to participate in events and activities. 

For more information about the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, call the U.S. Presidential Scholars Office at 507.931.8345, or visit

2021 Candidates PDF

Haris Rana and Jackson Minnick, Southside High School Candidates for U.S. Presidential Scholars Program

Pictured: Haris Rana and Jackson Minnick, Southside High School Candidates for U.S. Presidential Scholars Program