Miami-Jalynn McDuffey, a graduating senior at Coral Reef High School, has been named one of 60 Presidential Scholars in the Arts candidates as part of the 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. The candidates were nominated from almost 7000 participants in the annual National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) competition.

Jalynn’s art pieces all have a story to tell. Most of her paintings focus on African-American heritage, its history and struggle. Her work evokes emotion and thought. Jalynn believes in the importance of looking back and reflecting on black history and finds it somewhat meditational when she paints. Jalynn’s talent caught the eye of the YoungArts Foundation and many others.

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 will be invited to Washington, D.C. 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 60 arts candidates were selected for their exceptional performance in the disciplines of dance, film/video, instrumental music, jazz, voice, photography, theater, visual arts, design, and creative writing.

Further consideration will be based on students’ essays, self-assessments, description of activities, school recommendations, and school transcripts. Of these, up to 20 will be selected as U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts.

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.

Scholars will be invited to Washington, DC, in June to receive the Presidential Scholars Medallion at a recognition ceremony and to participate in events and activities if circumstances permit.

Jalynn McDuffey is the daughter of Toni Bowen-McDuffey, mother (305)975-8664