US Presidential Scholars program recognizes Corona del Mar High student and teacher

A teacher and senior from Corona del Mar High School were selected to be part of the 59th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars and Distinguished Teachers. 

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The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars program was established in 1964 to recognize and honor some of the nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors. It was extended to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative and performing arts, along with high school seniors who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields.

This year, the U.S. Department of Education narrowed down a list of 5,000 high school seniors and selected 161 honorees, which included student Sophia Ann Rabin. The department named 159 distinguished educators including teacher Michael Dobyns.

The distinguished teachers program recognizes faculty members who have made an extraordinary impact on the community through the integration of ambitious scholarship and dynamic student engagement.

“On behalf of President Biden, I am delighted to join your family, friends, and communities in celebrating your accomplishments,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “Aim high, share your talents, and continue embracing opportunities to lead as your exciting future unfolds.”

The commission will recognize the scholars for their outstanding achievement this summer.

Student scholar Sophia Ann Rabin

Presidential Scholar Sophia Rabin
U.S. Presidential Scholar Sophia Rabin performed at the 2023 National YoungArts Awards in February. (Courtesy of YoungArts)

Following in her father’s footsteps, Rabin fell in love with music at an early age. She learned how to play guitar and formed a band in kindergarten.

Rabin’s passion for music and the arts continued as she immersed herself in choir and drama at Corona del Mar High School. In 2019, Rabin released an album titled “Second Chances,” singing songs that she wrote. She founded the campus’ first visual arts committee to highlight other student artists and promote performances and events on campus.

In the classroom, Rabin has excelled in enhanced math and AP courses.

“I hope I left a legacy of some kind at CdM,” said Rabin. “The school provides so many opportunities for students and I took advantage of all of them. I’m incredibly grateful for the staff at this school.”

Rabin was nominated for the national program by YoungArts, the National Foundation for the Advancement of Artists.

The scholar will attend the University of Southern California in the fall. Rabin said she plans to pursue a path to becoming a professional performing artist and dreams of winning a Grammy Award.

Distinguished teacher Michael Dobyns

Corona del Mar High School teacher Michael Dobyns

Each year, U.S. Presidential Scholars have the opportunity to name a teacher who they consider the most influential. Rabin chose Mr. Dobyns.

Celebrating nearly nine years as an educator at Corona del Mar High, Dobyns teaches history and serves as a student government director for middle and high school students.

He was inspired to pursue a career in education by his grandfather, who also worked as a teacher for the district.

Dobyns has been credited with growing the campus’ associated student body. He motivates students to embolden their school community to create an inclusive environment that celebrates the achievements of all students.