BY MATT MACKINDER
Clarkston News Editor
As National Merit Scholar award semifinalists, the five Clarkston High School students who recently achieved this honor are more than just stellar students. CHS seniors Riley Beernink, Nathan Dimmer, Owen Meyer, Henry Sprague, and Parker Szachta are all honored by the recognition but realize the work is far from over.
"l am proud of this honor," said Szachta. "It is great knowing hard work pays off, and anything is possible. Being academically strong means engaging in a true passion. Having a passion is not simply about being successful. It is about pursuing excitement with activities that bring thrills. Chase those electrifying passions, venture into them, and see them through. "Then, the world comes alive." As for next school year, Szachta is applying to Harvard University and the University of Michigan, among others, possibly for Computer Science or Statistics.
Meyer said he is proud be able to represent his school and community in this competition. "This recognition represents a dedication to hard work, and a culmination of effort throughout my schooling career here in Clarkston," Meyer said. "A strong education is paramount to me because it has opened all sorts of doorways for me to pursue and will likely continue to do so in the future. I am able to participate in many wonderful opportunities both in school and out and cannot wait to see what lies ahead. "With a strong foundation from my pre-college experience, I can feel prepared to succeed any place I decide to go looking forward." He is currently applying to several colleges for Biomedical Engineering.
Dimmer sees his hard work getting results. "It feels like my passion for learning and the effort I put into education are being recognized," said Dimmer. "To me, being strong academically means broadening my horizons by learning everything I can about the world and taking the opportunities presented to me so that I can improve myself and the world around me." Next year, he'll be studying Computer Science at a four-year university, but is undecided at the moment.
Sprague said he is excited to be recognized. "This was really something that I thought I had a slim chance of achieving," Sprague said. "I understand that it is rare to be in the same position I am, but at some point, it just feels normal. I have been called a strong student since I started school, and everything since has just been a continuation of that path. You could call high academic achievement an expectation for me based on how school has gone so far." Next year, Sprague is going to college, but said a school and major are up in the air.
Beernink is elated with the National Merit Scholar recognition."I feel very lucky to receive this award because it means I can potentially go to college for a reduced cost or even completely free," said Beernink. "I think a large part of being strong academically is being able to do the work you need to and not being lazy." He plans to go to college for Music Education, either at Central Michigan University, Michigan State University, Florida State, or the University of Central Florida.
The next step towards becoming a National Merit Scholar award finalist takes place in February.
About Clarkston Community Schools: Clarkston is a highly regarded school district with an enrollment of nearly 7,100 students. We have seven elementary schools (K-5), one middle school serving grades 6-7, one junior high for grades 8-9, and Clarkston High School, which serves students in grades 10-12. We also have an Early Childhood Center serving children ages 3-5, and an alternative high school/community education facility. Clarkston Community Schools students are well-prepared for a future that excites them, and believe that they can achieve their dreams. The mission of Clarkston Community Schools is to create a learning environment where students, staff, and families are challenged, healthy, engaged, safe, and supported.
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