Eleven graduating seniors from the Washington area have been named as 1986 Presidential Scholars, the nation's top honor for high school seniors.

Included are four students from private schools in the District, three from Montgomery County public schools, two from Fairfax County schools and one each from an Alexandria public school and a private school in Montgomery County.

Nationwide, 141 students were selected for the honor by a special presidential commission -- 121 for academic achievement and 20 for achievement in the arts. Each scholar will receive $1,000 and has been invited for a week of activities here in late June that will include a White House ceremony.

The academic winners were picked in a nationwide search that began with test scores for about 2 million students. Two winners -- one female, one male -- were chosen for each state, the District, Puerto Rico and Americans living abroad. Another 15 top students were chosen at large.

According to the list provided by the U.S. Department of Education, six winners live in Maryland, the largest number from any state. Five of these winners live in Montgomery County and one in Towson. Three of the four winners from Virginia live in Northern Virginia.

Two students attending St. Albans School for Boys in the District were selected -- Brent H. Edwards of Northwest Washington and Steven B. Johnson, an arts winner from Bethesda. The others winners from the District are Iris Y. Chen of Sidwell Friends and Anne C. Handwerger of National Cathedral School.

The winners from schools in Montgomery are Jennifer Y. Wu of Walt Whitman High, Bethesda; Peter S. Shawhan of Springbrook High, Silver Spring; Leslie M. Watanabe, an arts winner from Woodward High, Rockville, and Lynne S. Haggard, who is one of just three students in the first senior class at Newport Preparatory, a private school in Kensington.

The Northern Virginia winners are Lara A. Ackerman of T.C. Williams High, Alexandria; Kenneth C. Chern of W.T. Woodson High, Fairfax, and Michael D. Tang of Langley High, McLean.