Union High School seniors Kayden Kehe, Celestine Kim named Academic All-State students

Source: Union Public Schools

Union High School seniors Kayden Kehe and Celestine Kim have been named 2023 Academic All-State Students by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence. Kayden is the son of Barton Kehe and Emily Goss and Celestine is the daughter of Jeong Sue Kim and Sun Yung Jin, all of Broken Arrow.

The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence recently announced the recipients of its prestigious 2023 Academic All-State Awards. Kehe and Kim are two of 100 top public high school seniors, who have been selected from hundreds of applications statewide, hailing from 75 schools in 68 Oklahoma school districts.

The 2023 Academic All-State class is the 37th to be selected by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence. Since the award program’s inception in 1987, some 3,700 high school seniors from 335 school districts have been named Academic All-State scholars.

Each of this year’s All-Staters will receive a $1,500 merit-based cash award and a medallion. The All-Staters will be recognized at the foundation’s 37th annual Academic Awards Banquet on Saturday, May 20, at the Cox Business Convention Center in Tulsa.

Andrew J. Morris, president of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, describes the selection of the scholars as “Oklahoma’s most rigorous academic awards selection process.” To be eligible for Academic All-State, students must meet one of the following criteria: an American College Test (ACT) composite score of at least 30; a combined SAT evidence-based reading & writing and math score of at least 1370; or be selected as a semi-finalist for a National Merit Scholarship.

This year’s All-Staters scored an average of 33 on the ACT, with six recipients scoring a perfect 36. The students’ average GPA was 4.25. In addition, 29 of this year’s All-Staters are National Merit semifinalists.

Academic All-Staters are selected based on academic achievement, extracurricular activities, and community involvement, as well as letters of recommendation and an essay submitted by each applicant. The selection committee, which is chaired by retired educator Jan McClaren, works independently of all other foundation activities. The committee members are a diverse group of business, education, and civic leaders, as well as past Academic Awards Program honorees.

“The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Academic Awards Program is Oklahoma’s premiere awards program honoring academic achievement, innovation and leadership among students and educators in our public schools,” said Executive Director Elizabeth Inbody. “By working together to give outstanding students and educators the recognition they deserve, we send a strong message to our state and to the nation that Oklahomans value academic excellence.”

The Academic Awards Banquet is open to the public, with admission priced at $65. Registration will open online April 3 at The awards ceremony will also be available for viewing on the foundation’s website following the event. For more information, call the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence office at (405) 236-0006.

Founded in 1985, the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence is a statewide, nonprofit organization dedicated to recognizing and encouraging academic excellence in Oklahoma’s public schools. Through its Academic Awards Program, the foundation has provided more than $5.4 million in awards to recognize outstanding graduating seniors as Academic All-Staters and exceptional educators as Medal for Excellence honorees.

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