MIC Students and Teacher Among 2018 U.S. Presidential Scholar Awards

May 8, 2018


Two MIC students have been named members of the 54th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars, recognizing 161 high school seniors for their accomplishments in academics, the arts and career and technical education fields. The United States Presidential Scholars Program is described as "one of the Nation's highest honors for students" in the United States of America and the globe.


Violinist Julian Rhee, 17, Brookfield, WI and pianist David Hou, 17, Hawthorn Woods, IL are two of just twenty students selected as U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts. Julian, a student of Almita Vamos in the Academy, and David, a former student of Alan Chow in the Academy, will attend the 2018 Ceremony on June 24 when they receive a Presidential Scholar Medallion.

In 2017, Academy piano student Andrew Guo received this same high honor, and in 2009 it was awarded to Academy violinist Andrea Jarrett.


In addition, Music Institute of Chicago Academy faculty member Almita Vamos received a 2018 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program Distinguished Teacher award. Nominated by Julian Rhee, Vamos was one of just seven teachers nationwide to receive the award. Well- recognized for her teaching artistry, both Ms. Vamos and her husband Roland have been recognized on seven occasions at the White House and have won numerous distinguished service awards.


The National YoungArts Foundation reviews approximately 12,000 candidates annually of 15- to 18-year-old artists in the fields of visual, literary, performing and design arts. From these they select (through a blind adjudication process) the top 600-700 artists in the nation as National Winners. 171 of these Winners travel to Miami, Florida for National YoungArts Week, where they are further adjudicated by panelists and can win up to $10,000 to help them pursue a career in the arts. These 171 Winners are then narrowed down to 60 nominees that are recommended to the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars. These 60 candidates are invited to apply, and the Commission, in turn, selects the 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts.


The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.