Board recognizes students for academic achievements |

Board recognizes students for academic achievements

Tim Mutrie

The Aspen School District Board formally applauded the scholastic achievements of four high school seniors, three of whom were recently named National Merit Scholar Semifinalists and one who was recognized as a National Merit Scholar Commended Student.

Rebecca Anderson, Travis Mohrman, and Ben Sadler were named National Merit Scholar Semifinalists and will continue to compete for Finalist status, and then to become National Merit Scholarship Winners. Jennifer Snook was named a Commended Student for her outstanding performance on the PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary Scholastic Achievement/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test), which all four students took in the fall of 1998.

School District superintendent Tom Farrell congratulated the students and thanked them for making the high school a better place.

“To have four students recognized as you four have been, for a school our size says a lot about you, and a lot about our district,” he said. All four students came up through the ranks of Aspen public schools.

“I commend your hard work and commitment to excellence,” said Kendall Evans, Aspen High School principal.

“We usually get one Semifinalist a year,” Farrell said prior to the board meeting. “But this year, when we got three, I thought it made sense to have them come to the school board meeting for us to recognize them.”

“We recognize kids for athletic achievement, but we don’t recognize kids as much for academic achievement, so that’s what we’re trying to do,” Farrell continued. “It’s been a concern that I’ve had for years and when I found out we had three Semifinalists and one Commended Student, I decided the time had come to recognize these outstanding students.”

Farrell later presented Anderson, Sadler and Snook (Mohrman was at a cross-country race Tuesday evening) each with a gift certificate to Explorer Books.

Nationwide, approximately 1.2 million juniors took the PSAT test last year, and the top 34,000 scorers – usually at or above the 96th percentile of all test takers – are named National Merit Scholar Commended Students. In Colorado, 427 students from 129 high schools were named Commended Students.

Of the Commended Students, 16,000 are further named National Merit Scholar Semifinalists, the highest scorers in each state. Fewer than one percent of students who took the test are named Semifinalists, and in Colorado, 212 students from 71 schools were recognized with the designation.

About 90 percent of the Semifinalists meet the standards required to become Finalists, and of that group, more than half will become National Merit Scholarship Winners. Anderson, Mohrman and Sadler will need to submit detailed applications in order to qualify as scholarship winners.

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