By JESSICA CRAWFORD • Daily Leader
Liberal High School Principal Keith Adams announced Tuesday that senior Melissa Duerson, daughter of Alvin and Lisa Duerson of Turpin, Okla., has been named a Commended Student in the National Merit Scholarship program. Duerson scored in the top 5 percent of 1.5 million students nationwide that took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.
Although names of students selected as Merit Scholars will not be released until later in the 2009-10 school year, Adams was pleased to announce that Duerson’s picture will grace the Academic Scholar cabinet, a project started by a former LHS principal.
“She will still be on our wall of fame,” Adams said. “We are very proud of her. A very, very small percentage of students receive this honor. Our last Merit Scholar was Kendal Reed in 2006. The last one before that was in 1996. Our first one was in 1961, A. Jack Bozarth.
“We used to have a little old board with snapshots,” Adams explained.
“Mr. Little started this project right before he left. He retired but didn’t finish it. So, I started where he left off and went ahead and tried to finish it. We had this cabinet built by Mr. Evans, one of our industrial arts teachers. We had the plaques done downtown.”
Duerson is still contemplating where she will be continuing her education. However, she said, she has just about narrowed down her selection. Duerson is a member of the scholars bowl team and the science club.
“I am not sure yet where I will be going to school, I am looking at a couple,” she said. “Right now Rice University in Houston is at the top of the list.”
A press release from the the National Merit Scholarship Corporations noted that approximately 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise.
“Recognition of high-achieving students is essential to advancing educational excellence in our nation,” a spokesperson for NMSC noted in the release. “As demonstrated by their outstanding performance in our highly competitive program, the young men and women named Commended Students represent some of the most academically talented students in our country. We sincerely hope this recognition will enhance their educational opportunities and encourage them in their pursuit of academic success.”