The news of the efforts of two Santa Monica High School students and their club to promote alternative modes of transportation in their community has reached the Oval Office.

Samohi juniors Jenna Perelman and Charlotte Biren were stunned to learn that in addition to receiving a commendation from the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District board June 16, they have been awarded a presidential commendation from President Barack Obama.

Perelman and Biren, the co-presidents of the Samohi Solar Alliance, the largest club at the school, were presented the rare honor in recognition for environmental leadership of Bike It! Day and excellence in student achievement. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency described their work as “inspiring” and “motivating others through their example,” said Richard McKinnon, chair of Bike It! Day.

The school board honored the two juniors and other members of the Samohi Solar Alliance for initiating and leading Bike It! Day at the high school and other schools in the district as a way to encourage the use of bicycles and other forms of transportation rather than cars.