More academic hardware

Along with the one National Merit Semi- Finalist announced earlier this month, three other students here were recognized for high scores. Seniors Melissa Albers and Stephen Eastman were recognized as National Merit Commended and Courtney Jones as a National Merit Recipient.

All three students had mixed emotions upon hearing the news from Dr. Sonny Arnel. Albers was waiting in anticipation for news as she was asked from friends if she knew how she did.

“I was excited because some of my friends from MSA (Missouri Scholar’s Academy) already knew they were semi-finalists, and I was just like I don’t know,” Albers said. “I don’t even think my score was that good. And so, I was excited that I got commended.”

Like Albers, Eastman mirrored the sense of disbelief upon finding out because of the many people that take the test and the selective few that are recognized.

“I was surprised by it because I didn’t expect to be one of the few who would get recognized by taking a test last year,” Eastman said.

Jones, upon hearing the news, felt surprised, but happy about the news.

“I wasn’t really sure what to think,” Jones said. “I took the test (PSAT) last year, and I figured that my scores weren’t very good. Especially not good enough to be recognized for this award. Of course, after I realized what it meant, I was ecstatic! I’m still not sure that I deserve it.”

In terms of what is next to come, Albers and Eastman are finished and do not have to take any further steps in the competition. Jones, however, like semi-finalist Holly Harrison, has several additional tasks to complete, among them, taking the SAT, filling out an application and writing an essay, in hopes of being awarded scholarships.

“I have to fill out a multi-part application which includes an original essay,” Jones said. “I also have to get a letter of recommendation. Additionally, Dr. Gang, my counselor, fills out information to include with my application. The thing I am dreading most about this is taking the SAT in November. I am really excited to have this opportunity to be in the running for scholarships, though.”

To future students, the three seniors have similar advice for aspiring students who also want to be recognized– put extra effort into high school, prepare for the PSAT, and have a positive mindset.

“I think it is important to realize that what we do in high school really does matter,” Jones said. “I know how annoying standardized testing is. I was remembering the annoyance of taking the plan test when the sophomores were taking it last week. It can really make a difference if you put some effort into it though.”