Katarina Stanley and David Valentine were named 2018 National Merit Semifinalists after placing in the top 1 percent of high scorers, while classmates Theo Covello and Abigail Herman received National Merit Commendation.
The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. At stake are approximately 7,500 merit scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be offered next spring. Nearly half of Semifinalists will receive these scholarships, while Commended Students often are candidates for additional scholarships sponsored by corporations and businesses.
As a junior last year, Stanley was the top-ranked student in not only her class but in all of Morgan Park Academy’s Upper School. She was named an AP Scholar with Distinction, which is granted to students who receive an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams. She is a National Honor Society member, a Freshman Mentor, and co-president of both the Service Council and the Diversity Council. Stanley plays clarinet, volleyball, and soccer; serves as house manager for school productions; and has won numerous awards in Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering (WYSE) and Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ICTM) competitions and in the National Latin Exam. Outside of school, she served as president of the Lincoln Park Zoo’s Conservation Ambassadors Board and as a youth group leader at Willow Creek Community Church.
Valentine also earned recognition as an AP Scholar with Distinction and a member of the National Honor Society and the High Honor Roll. He has made a significant mark in the MPA arts department as a musician, actor, and Arts Council member. He has served as an actor, crew member, and leader for the Drama Club in several stage productions and is a performer, section leader, and composer with the Upper School band. He also is a Math Club tutor and leader and was honored last year as MPA’s top chemistry student among underclassmen.
Covello last year was one of two recipients of the Jerome Thrall Junior Leadership Award. The most prestigious award given to Morgan Park Academy students at the end of their junior year, it recognizes faithfulness to the MPA tradition of excellence in citizenship, superior scholarship, and dedication to the enhancement of the common good. He is a member of the National Honor Society and one of four student members of the Academy’s Honor Council. He was the top-ranked student in the Class of 2018 as a freshman and sophomore and has been honored as an outstanding upperclassman in both world history and U.S. history. Covello sings in choral groups both at MPA and outside of school, plays varsity tennis, acts in school productions, and has contributed to Model UN and the student newspaper. Passionate about history, science, and world travel, he has spent his summers shadowing physicians and paleontologists.
Herman is a member of the National Honor Society, the Math National Honor Society, and the French National Honor Society. Heavily involved in academics, athletics, drama, and other school activities, she has competed in basketball, bowling, and cross country; served with student government, Service Council, Diversity Council, Arts Council, and French Club; and is co-editor of the MPA yearbook.