Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Academy Students Win National Awards

Two of our high school students received prestigious national awards last week. Andrew Tavin, a senior in our Cooper Yeshiva High School for Boys, was selected from among 16,000 semifinalists to advance to finalist standing in the National Merit Scholarship Program. Winners of the National Merit Scholarship are selected based on their academic record, information about the school's curricula and grading system, two sets of test scores, his or her school official's written recommendation, information about the student's activities and leadership, and the student’s own essay. By attaining Finalist standing, Andrew, has already put himself in the running for several lucrative college scholarships both from the National Merit Program itself as well as from its college and corporate partners.

Raquel Kampf, a senior in our Goldie Margolin School for Girls, was notified last week of her standing as a Finalist in the Coca-Cola Scholars Program. While the National Merit Scholarship puts its primary focus on a student’s academic accomplishment, the Coca-Cola Scholarship gives equal weight to a student’s leadership and community service accomplishments – an area where Raquel’s accomplishments are extraordinary. From her roles as President of Student Council, Editor-in-Chief of the Yearbook, and lead actress in the school play, to her weekly volunteer efforts at the Memphis Jewish Home, her work with the homeless at the Cook Convention Center, and her efforts on behalf of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Raquel has distinguished herself in her school community and well beyond, as an emerging leader with a passion for making the world around her a better place.

Chosen out of 75,000 applicants and 2,100 Semifinalists, Raquel has already qualified for an award of $10,000 toward her college tuition. On the weekend of April 3rd, Raquel will join the other 251 Finalists for Coca-Cola’s Scholars Weekend in Atlanta. There she will be honored at a special banquet and will participate in a host of special programming designed only for this select group of highly accomplished high school students. Raquel will also undergo several interviews over the weekend which will help to determine whether she qualifies as one of fifty-two Finalists who will be chosen as National Scholars and will receive $20,000, instead of $10,000, toward their college tuition.

Andrew topped off the week with yet another award. He was part of the school’s ten student delegation which took part in a three-day simulated Model United Nations convened by Yeshiva University in Stamford, Connecticut. Over 450 students attended from 43 different Jewish High Schools from across the country. Each school was assigned a different country and each student was asked to represent his or her country on a particular UN committee. Andrew returned to Memphis with a First Place Award for Committee Leadership, for his skillful stewardship of the 1540 - Terrorism Prevention Committee.

Both Andrew and Raquel expect to hear from their respective scholarship programs regarding their final status in late April or May. We wish them the best of luck!

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