The President’s Education Awards Program (PEAP) honors students selected annually by their school principal. This year, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos congratulated the 2019 PEAP honorees, recognizing nearly 2.25 million elementary, middle, and high school graduates on their educational accomplishments and growth.

The students come from more than 25,000 public, private, and military schools from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Outlying Areas (American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands,) and American military bases abroad.

“The President and I are honored to celebrate your accomplishments and join your family and community in honoring you,” the Secretary said in her letter to recipients. “By setting goals for your education and working hard to reach them, you are building a bright future for yourself and inspiring others to following their own paths to success.”

Since its founding in 1983, the PEAP program has provided the nation’s schools with the opportunity to recognize graduating high school students who meet the highest standards of academic excellence and those who have given their best effort, often overcoming obstacles to their learning. Recognition is bestowed by the President and the U.S. Secretary of Education, in partnership with the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Principals have sole discretion in choosing recipients based on eligibility. There is no limit on the number of awards, as long as students meet the criteria for each award set by the school.

Eligible students are selected for recognition in two categories:

The President’s Award for Educational Excellence –This award recognizes academic success in the classroom. To be eligible, students must meet requirements – including grade point average or other school-set criteria – and state tests or teacher recommendations.

The President’s Award for Educational Achievement –This award recognizes students that show outstanding educational growth, improvement, commitment, or intellectual development in their academic subjects but do not meet the criteria for the Educational Excellence Award. Its purpose is to encourage and reward students who give their best effort, often in the face of special obstacles. Criterion for this award is developed at each school.

The principal associations will notify their members of PEAP early in 2020, with nominations received from February through June. For more information, visit the President Education Awards Site.