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Saluting Excellence: Four MORE National Merit Scholars in Metro Schools

The Metro Schools Class of 2015 continues to impress with four more National Merit Scholars added to the ranks! These awards are sponsored by the colleges these students plan to attend and are just as tough to win as the other National Merit Scholarships. They are given only to students who meet the highest academic standards and are selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors.

The latest National Merit Scholars are:

  • Jonathan Ladd, Hume-Fogg Magnet High School
    Sponsoring College: Oberlin College
    Probable Career Field: Political Science
  • Jessica Orkin, Hume-Fogg Magnet High School
    Sponsoring College: Vanderbilt University
    Probable Career Field: Mathematics
  • Kelsey Veca, Hume-Fogg Magnet High School
    Sponsoring College: University of Tennessee
    Probable Career Field: Engineering
  • Srinivasa Dheeraj Namburu, Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet School
    Sponsoring College: Vanderbilt University
    Probable Career Field: Computer Science

Let’s go through the full list of 2015 National Merit and Achievement honorees:

This year, more Metro students made it to the semifinals of the National Merit Scholarship program than ever before. Another group of scholars will be announced in July, so stay tuned for even more good news!

Saluting Excellence: The School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt Class of 2015

The 2015 class of SSMV, with Virginia Shepherd, director of the Center for Science Outreach and professor of pathology, microbiology and immunology at Vanderbilt, at center. (Vanderbilt)

The 2015 class of SSMV, with Virginia Shepherd, director of the Center for Science Outreach and professor of pathology, microbiology and immunology at Vanderbilt, at center. (Photo courtesy of Vanderbilt)

Graduation season is almost done, and there’s one ceremony that happened two weeks ago you might not know about. But you definitely should.

On May 9, the School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt (SSMV) held its fifth commencement exercises. Together with their families, friends and community members, 23 graduates from four Metro Schools celebrated completion of the four-year honors program – one of the top high school science and math programs in the country.

Dr. Sharon Gentry, chair of the Metro Nashville Board of Education, was a distinguished guest and speaker. Dr. Jesse Register, director of Metro Nashville Public Schools, gave the commencement address.

These students are all headed to college this fall. Just take a look at this impressive list of graduates and their intended colleges: 

  • Fenan D. Debesai, Hume-Fogg Magnet, Davidson College
  • Kelsey G. Driscoll, Hume-Fogg Magnet, Claremont McKenna College
  • Catherine Elizabeth English, Overton High School, Vanderbilt University
  • Valeria A. Garcia Lopez, Hume-Fogg Magnet, Centre College
  • Evan B. Gordon, Hume-Fogg Magnet, Reed College
  • Varik Sevion Harris, Hume-Fogg Magnet, Reed College
  • Mayra Garitzia Hernandez, Hume-Fogg Magnet, Brigham Young University-Provo
  • Nhung Tuyet Thi Hoang, Overton High School, Swarthmore College
  • Isaac Ige, Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Andriana D’an Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet, Vanderbilt University
  • Alex Steven Jolly, Hillsboro High School, Vanderbilt University
  • Elizabeth MacPherson, Hillsboro High School, Loyola University, New Orleans
  • Arturas Malinauskas, Hume-Fogg Magnet, Northwestern University
  • Xena E. McDonald, Overton High School, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Maylan Daniel Mehus, Overton High School, Haverford College
  • Dheeraj S. Namburu, Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet, Brown University
  • Susannah E. Price, Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet, Washington University in St. Louis
  • Samuel A. Rafter, Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet, Northeastern University
  • Efrain I. Salazar, Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet, Brigham Young University-Idaho
  • Able Shi, Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet, Vanderbilt University
  • Camron M. Shirkhodaie, Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet, Vanderbilt University
  • Cochran Gray Tettleton, Hume-Fogg Magnet, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Yae Eun Yang, Hume-Fogg Magnet, Johns Hopkins University

The School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt is a joint venture between Vanderbilt University and Metro Schools. The SSMV offers high school students a four-year, interdisciplinary, research-centered learning experience at one of the nation’s most prestigious universities, where internationally recognized faculty are leading the way in diverse fields of scientific study.

The School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt is supported in part by a National Institutes of Health NCRR Science Education Partnership Award, by Vanderbilt University and by Metro Schools.

Board of Education honors Class of 2015 at the Salute to Excellence

This afternoon, the Board of Education honored dozens graduating high school students for their incredible academic achievements at a reception in the Metro Schools Board room. Students from nearly every high school were there to accept awards and receive congratulations from Board representatives and other district leaders.

“This is one of our favorite events all year, and we feel privileged to have the opportunity to honor these young people who are working so hard to achieve their dreams,” said Board of Education Chair Dr. Sharon Gentry. “Every Metro Schools graduate has a lot to be proud of, and we look forward to congratulating them at graduation ceremonies over the next two weeks.”

Students honored at the event include valedictorians, salutatorians and National Merit Scholars, as well as one student with 13 straight years of perfect attendance, from kindergarten through graduation.

See a complete list of the students honored at the Salute to Excellence.

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Graduation ceremonies start tonight with Nashville Big Picture High School students receiving diplomas at 6:00 p.m. at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Whites Creek. In all, 26 ceremonies will take place May 12-26. The last day of school for students is Wednesday, May 27.

See a complete schedule of graduation ceremonies including dates, times and locations.

Saluting Excellence: Overton High School student named U.S. Presidential Scholar

On top of the National Merit Scholars named earlier today, an Overton High School student has earned another of the country’s top academic prizes. Nhung Hoang has been named a Presidential Scholar, one of just 141 in the nation and four in the state of Tennessee to earn the honor.

Nhung may be one of the top high school graduates in the country, but this announcement took even her by surprise:

I actually found out about being the female representative for Tennessee through a friend. He sent me a “congratulations” text and a link to the Tennessean article. I had to read it a couple times before the news completely soaked in. I was speechless and delightfully surprised. Seeing my name in the article was one of the best feelings ever.

I didn’t know what the Presidential Scholars Program was before I applied, but I felt really honored to be Overton High School’s nominee. I submitted an application to the Tennessee Board of Education, not expecting to get very far. I was really excited to be notified that they had selected me as one of ten nominees for the national round!

This may sound weird, but I actually enjoyed working on the essay portion of the national application. There were five essays, and answering them took a lot of deep consideration and remembrance of the last four years of my life as a high school student. It was nice to look back and see how fulfilling and awesome my experience at Overton has been.

I gave my all to the application, but I never imagined making it to the final round. This has been such an honor, and I sincerely appreciate all the support that my school and my community has given me. I am so excited about visiting Washington, D.C. this summer and meeting fellow scholars. It’s an honor to get to represent Overton, MNPS, and Tennessee.

The honor is all ours, Nhung. We are so proud of everything you have accomplished.

Just in case you haven’t heard of the Presidential Scholars program either, here’s a bit more information from the U.S. Department of Education:

“Presidential Scholars demonstrate the accomplishments that can be made when students challenge themselves, set the highest standards, and commit themselves to excellence,” [U.S. Secretary of Education Arne] Duncan said. “These scholars are poised to make their mark on our nation in every field imaginable: the arts and humanities, science and technology, law and medicine, business and finance, education and government—to name a few. Their academic and artistic achievements reflect a sense of purpose that we should seek to instill in all students to prepare them for college, careers, civic responsibilities, and the challenges of today’s job market.”

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, appointed by President Obama, selects honored scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals. Of the three million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 4,300 candidates qualified for the 2015 awards determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, and through nominations made by Chief State School Officers or the National YoungArts Foundation’s nationwide YoungArts™ competition.

Nhung will be honored during a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on June 21, where she will receive a Presidential Scholar Medallion.

Saluting Excellence: Celebrate all Metro Schools graduates, valedictorians and salutatorians

With less than a week to go until graduation ceremonies begin, students, families and teachers across Nashville are preparing to celebrate the outstanding achievements of every Metro Schools graduate. There will be 26 ceremonies held in arenas, school auditoriums, college campuses and even the Grand Ole Opry house in a two-week period, April 12-26.

IMPORTANT: Due to forecasted rain, Stratford STEM Magnet High School has moved its graduation to the TSU Gentry Center.
See the full graduation schedule with dates, times and locations for each school.

In addition to the honor of receiving a high school diploma, most schools will also honor the top performing students of each graduating class. The 2015 Valedictorians and Salutatorians are:

School Valedictorian Salutatorian
Antioch High School Nardeen Samih Fayik Dina M. Mikaiel
Cane Ridge High School Merna Auype El Sols Marina Ramzy
East Nashville Magnet School Jostyn Hodges Katherine Climaco Benitez
Glencliff High School Elizabeth Narvaez-Vega Abdel Kareem Moadi
Hillsboro High School Alex Jolly Leah Daniel
Hillwood High School Heaven Anhalt Kenan Sakic
Hume-Fogg Magnet High School Kathryn Elizabeth Pickrell Madison Leigh Cuthbertson
Hunters Lane High School Kallen Shea Donaghey Virginia Cruz Victorio
LEAD Academy High School Antonio Onwu Victoria Stafford
Maplewood High School David Medina Jevonna Nicole Holbert
Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet School Bushra Rahman Camron Shirkhodaie
McGavock High School Christopher Harris Taylor III Allison Paige Woomer
MNPS Middle College High School Naba Saleh Al-Akashi Eva Maria Thomason
MNPS Virtual School Madeline Ruth Milam Murphy Lexie Amber Nance
Nashville Big Picture High School DeWanna Andrea Williams DiKaysia M. Buchanan
Nashville School of the Arts Sophia Regina Allison &Allison Morgan Ullein Jenise Krisstarrah Williams
Overton High School Catherine Elizabeth English Maylan Daniel Mehus
Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School Darryl Lamont Harris, Jr. Adrian Jaques Prather
Stratford STEM Magnet High School Nazje Tanae Mansfield Hong Sheng Shi
Whites Creek High School Joanna Brooke Yant Adriana Nichole Buchanan

Next week, the Board of Education will honor these students, as well as those who have earned even more academic distinctions this year, at the annual Salute to Excellence. Student achievements include perfect scores on the ACT, National Merit Scholarship Finalists and even one student with 13 years of perfect attendance, kindergarten through graduation.

Salute to Excellence
Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 4:00 p.m.
Metro Schools’ Board Room
2601 Bransford Avenue, 37204

Saluting Excellence: Four National Merit Scholars in Metro Schools

The National Merit Scholarship is one of the country’s top academic prizes. Of more than 1.4 million qualifying students, just .01% make it to the finals and .001% are named winners. They have to meet the highest academic standards and are selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors.

So, yeah, it’s a pretty tough award to win.

That’s why it is so exciting to have FOUR National Merit Scholars from Metro Schools – a record number!

  • John McCaw, Hillsboro High School
    Probable Career Field: Engineering
  • Sarah Hua, Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet School
    Probable Career Field: Neurology
  • Bushra Rahman, Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet School
    Probable Career Field: Medicine
  • Cathy Zhang, Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet School
    Probable Career Field: Public Health

This year, more Metro students made it to the semifinals of the National Merit Scholarship program than ever before. Last month, four Metro students won the related National Achievement Scholarship, which is given to high achieving African-American students. More awards from National Merit, including college-sponsored scholarships, are expected later this month and next month.

Congratulations to all of these students! The Class of 2015 is one for the books!

Saluting Excellence: 4 National Achievement Scholarship winners in Metro Schools

Congratulations to four students from Hume-Fogg and MLK for winning the National Achievement Scholarship!

This honor is given by the same people who give the National Merit Scholarship. African American students across the country earn it based on P-SAT and SAT scores, high academic performance, an essay and a recommendation. Only 800 of them were given out across the country this year.

We are very proud of these students!

  • Kami Dyer – Hume-Fogg
  • Bryan Okelo – MLK
  • Annan J. Timon – Hume-Fogg
  • David L. Tyus – Hume-Fogg

From the National Merit Scholarship Corporation:

The National Achievement Scholarship Program is a privately financed academic competition established in 1964 specifically to honor scholastically talented Black American youth and to provide scholarships to a substantial number of the most outstanding participants in each annual competition. By the conclusion of the 2014 program, which marks the 50th annual competition, about 33,400 participants will have received scholarships for undergraduate study worth more than $105 million. The program is conducted by National Merit Scholarship Corporation, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance.

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