A Kingfisher High School student has been announced as one of nine semifinalists from Oklahoma for the national Presidential Scholars award, one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students.

Braden Burns, a senior from Kingfisher, is the only student from Northwest Oklahoma to be named a semifinalist.

Burns is valedictorian of his graduating class of 105 students, his high school counselor Paula Leffingwell said.

Each year, up to 161 graduating seniors are named Presidential Scholars for their accomplishments in academics, the arts, and career and technical education fields, according to a press release.

From nearly 3.6 million graduating high school seniors from across the country, over 6,500 students were identified as candidates in the program.

The 2021 Presidential Scholars finalists will be selected later this month.

Burns has been involved with FFA since middle school and has since received many national honors, including runner-up on a national FFA team and a national winner in conduct of chapter meetings, Leffingwell said.

He will serve as FFA state secretary next year when he’s in college, Leffingwell said.

He also shows sheep and pigs and takes concurrent college courses. He has been named KHS student of the month and a runner-up for Western Meat Contest.

“He has great discipline and doesn’t put things on the back-burner,” Leffingwell said. “He does it.”

Burns comes from an ag farming family in Kingfisher. Both of his parents, Lori and Ryan Burns, were ag instructors at KHS, building the program and taking FFA teams to nationals for years. His older brother, Peyton, also was heavily involved in FFA in high school and attends Oklahoma State University.

Burns will attend OSU in the fall, intending to major in agricultural education.

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Ewald is copy editor and city/education reporter for the Enid News & Eagle.

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