LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A half-dozen Southland high school seniors were among 161 students from across the country to be recognized as U.S. Presidential Scholars for their achievements, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced Thursday.

The local 2020 Presidential Scholars are:

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  • Matthew Allana of Beverly Hills, Beverly Hills High School;
  • Dusan Brown of Studio City, Los Angeles County High School for the Arts;
  • Jessica Costescu of Cypress, Cypress High School;
  • Caitlin Chung of Beverly Hills, Harvard-Westlake School;
  • Theodore Louis Nissen of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County High School for the Arts; and
  • Anoush Pogossian of Glendale, Verdugo Academy.

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects students 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.

“These exemplary young people have excelled inside the classroom and out,” DeVos said. “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.”

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The program has honored more than 7,600 of the nation’s top-performing students since its creation in 1964.

The Presidential Scholars are set to be recognized this summer, as allowed by public health circumstances.

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(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)