Island School senior earns merit program recognition

Island School senior Marty Whitney was named a commended student in the 2009 National Merit Scholarship Program. A letter of commendation from the school and National Merit Scholarship Corporation, which conducts the program, will be presented by her principal. She is the daughter of Steve and Julie Whitney of Kilauea.

About 34,000 commended students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2009 competition for National Merit Scholarships, commended students placed among the top 5 percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2009 competition by taking the 2007 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

“Recognition of academically talented students and the key role played by schools in their development is essential to the pursuit of educational excellence in our nation,” states an NMSC press release. “The young-people-named commended students have demonstrated outstanding academic potential by their strong performance in this highly competitive program. We hope that this recognition will enhance their educational opportunities and that they will continue to diligently pursue their professional goals.”

Island School officials said that Whitney’s commendation is the sixth received by an Island School senior since 2002. Previous Island School students who have achieved this status are: Sean Head, class of 2002; Charles Chapin and Chris Hoffman, class of 2004; Kelsey McDonald, class of 2005; and Dianna Cowern, class of 2007. This is especially significant considering the average size of the school’s graduating classes is 20 students.

Whitney will travel to the East Coast during autumn break to look at colleges.

“I’m looking for a liberal arts college with a strong theatre program,” the release states. She plans to visit Amherst, Mount Holyoke, Smith, Hampshire and Wellesley — all in Massachusetts.

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