Madison West senior named U.S. Presidential Scholar


MADISON, Wis. — A Madison West senior is one of two students in Wisconsin to be named a U.S. Presidential Scholar.

Dayi Ethan Dong learned in an email that he would be awarded one of the nation’s highest honors given annually to no more than 161 high school students in the country.

“I read the notification,” said Dong. “It was very clear in the title but I didn’t quite believe it.”

The title is granted to students who demonstrate high potential in the arts, technical education, or academia.

In addition to stellar grades Dong participates in his school’s swim and robotics teams. He said being bestowed this honor is surreal but it will serve as an added motivator.

“It really just drives me to achieve outside the classroom to focus on what I love which is robotics, programming, computer science,” said Dong. “All that kind of stuff I hope to pursue in college and as a career down the line. It’s just enforcing that idea that you know I can be something.”

He also said much of his success is attributed to those who supported him, namely his family, the Madison Metropolitan School District, and his counselor at Madison West.

Dong has plans to attend Yale in the fall double majoring in Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering.

Since the federal program began over 55 years ago 75 hundred scholars have been honored with the distinction.

Those scholars are typically invited to an all expenses paid trip for the National Recognition Program in Washington D.C. where they would be awarded the U.S. Presidential Scholars medallion at a ceremony sponsored by the White House.

This year’s event however will take place online due to travel and gathering safety restrictions around the coronavirus pandemic.