Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / Maggie Wilkinson performs her spoken word piece "Love Is Just a Metaphor for Things That Shut" during the Rise & Shine Talent Showcase at Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts on Sunday, May 6, 2018 in Chattanooga, Tenn.

For the second year in a row, a student at Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts has been named a U.S. Presidential Scholar.

This year's honoree is Maggie A. Wilkinson of Ooltewah, according to an announcement from the U.S. Department of Education. She is among 161 high school seniors recognized for their accomplishments in academics, the arts and career and technical education fields.

"It is my privilege to congratulate the Presidential Scholars Class of 2020 on their outstanding academic achievement, community service and leadership," said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. "These exemplary young people have excelled inside the classroom and out. And while they are facing unprecedented challenges as they graduate from high school into a world that looks much different than it did just a few months ago, their determination, resilience and commitment to excellence will serve them well as they pursue their next steps."

CCA Principal Deborah B. Smith describes Wilkinson as "a master at retelling stories" and an "artist who has created her own legacy of success."

"This honor validates her commitment to the arts and to becoming a renowned writer," Smith said. "She begins her path of study at Princeton University in the fall."

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

Of the 3.6 million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 5,300 candidates qualified for the 2020 awards determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT or ACT exams or through nominations by chief state school officers, other partner organizations and the National YoungArts Foundation's nationwide YoungArts competition.

Last year, Wilkinson was named a YoungArts Foundation finalist in writing and poetry, the organization's highest honor, and won a $10,000 cash prize.

As directed by an executive order of the president, the 2020 U.S. Presidential Scholars comprise one young man and one young woman from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and U.S. families living abroad, as well as 15 chosen at large, 20 Scholars in the Arts and 20 Scholars in Career and Technical Education.

Wilkinson was among the 20 Scholars in the Arts. Justin Black, whom she named as her "greatest influence and inspiration," also was announced as a 2020 Distinguished Teacher.

Last year's CCA Presidential Scholar was Zavier Santino Chavez.

Smith said she is "thrilled to continue the tradition" of celebrating the artists who "walk the halls and fill our studios and classrooms with their unending talents."

The Presidential Scholars Class of 2020 will be recognized for their outstanding achievement this summer, as public health circumstances permit.

A complete list of 2020 U.S. Presidential Scholars is available at