BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Three Louisiana high school students were named among this year’s U.S. Presidential Scholars, the state Department of Education announced on Wednesday morning.

The three students recognized were identified as Baton Rouge Magnet High’s Daniel Z. Liu, Caddo Parish Magnet High’s Ananya Bhatia and Hammond High’s Khalil J. McKnight.

“Baton Rouge Magnet High School is extremely proud of Daniel Liu being recognized as a 2023 U.S Presidential Scholar,” said Baton Rouge Magnet High School Principal Nanette McCann.

McCann said Liu will be going to Yale University where he plans to major in astrophysics with a minor in philosophy or theology.

“Daniel believes that ‘Looking at the sky and feeling the awe and beauty of the unknown universe gives me great hope that as mankind, though comparatively miniscule to our encompassing universe, we are able to discover more about it through innovation and perseverance, something I want to be part of.’ Daniel Liu is a young man to watch in the future who may help to make our world a better place,” she said.

“Congratulations to these scholars on a remarkable achievement that places them among our nation’s best and brightest,” said State Superintendent Dr. Cade Brumley. “I’m proud to celebrate their success and look forward to the positive impact they can have as future leaders in our state.”

A total of 161 high school seniors were recognized for their achievements in academics, arts and career and technical education fields, according to LDOE.

“U.S. Presidential Scholars have always represented the future of our country and the bright promise it holds. I want each of these remarkable students to know: your passion and intellect, pursuit of excellence, and spirit of service are exactly what our country needs,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “On behalf of President Biden, I am delighted to join your family, friends, and communities in celebrating your accomplishments. Aim high, share your talents, and continue embracing opportunities to lead as your exciting future unfolds.” 

The U.S. Department of Education states that the program was created “to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in visual, literary and performing arts.” Officials said the program was later expanded to include recognition for students in career and technical education fields.