Paducah Tilghman’s Kate Criner Named US Presidential Scholar
The US Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964, by executive order of the President, to recognize and honor some of the nation's most distinguished graduating high school seniors for their accomplishments in many areas: academic success, leadership, service to school and community, strong character, and a commitment to high ideals. In 1979, the program was extended to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative, and performing arts. In 2015, the program was again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields. Annually, up to 161 US Presidential Scholars are chosen from that
year’s senior class, representing excellence in education and the promise of greatness in America’s youth. All Scholars are invited to Washington, DC, in June for the National Recognition Program, featuring various events and enrichment activities culminating in the presentation of
the Presidential Scholar Medallion during a White House-sponsored ceremony. Due to COVID - 19, this summer’s events will not take place at the White House. Instead, Presidential Scholars will be celebrated with on-line fanfare.
Criner, the Class of 2020’s valedictorian, is an AP Scholar with Distinction and was a Paducah Bank Teen of the Week. While at Tilghman, she served as captain of the Paducah Tilghman Speech and Debate Team, the girls Varsity Tennis Team, and the Future Problem Solving Team, and the Mock Trial Team. Through speech she was awarded the National Speech and Debate Degree of Special Distinction and was a member of the Kentucky All-State Speech Team. She was also a member of the Interact Club, PT Ambassadors, Tilghman Tellers, Beta Club, National Honor Society and the Varsity Academic Team. During her senior year, Criner was ranked first in the state for mock trial. She received the Daughters
of the American Revolution Good Citizen Award in recognition of her commitment to her community. She was a member of the PTHS Honor Wind Ensemble and the Band of Blue Pep Band. She served as a Paducah Human Rights Commission intern and was a co-chair of the PHRC Student
Intern Youth Involvement Project. She is an alumna of both the Governor's Scholars Program and Youth LEAD. Criner is the founder of the teen-driven mental health initiative Loqui, and a sitting member of the Provider Enrichment Services Board.
She continues to be a dedicated volunteer at the Yeiser Art Center, with the Trinity United Methodist Church band, and with the Empty Bowls Project. She has served as the merchandise manager for the Paducah Chiefs since 2016.
In addition to being designated a US Presidential Scholar, Criner is one of 151 outstanding high school seniors to be named a Coca Cola Scholar. She also recently received the Greydon Seaton Scholarship and the Kiwanis Club of Paducah Scholarship.
She is the daughter of Janie and Andy Criner. Criner will attend the University of Louisville in the fall as a Vogt Scholar.