April 2012, Volume 16, Number 2


MDC High School Produces Stellar Scholars

Stepping into the spotlight on the nation’s stage, high school students at MDC’s School of Advanced Studies (SAS) are raking in prestigious honors and scholarships as they graduate this spring. Not only earning laurels for their academic achievements, many of them are also graduating with MDC associate degrees as well as their high school diplomas.

Four SAS students have been named National Merit Scholars, three have been accepted into the National Achievement Scholarship Program and 15 have made the cut for the National Hispanic Recognition Program. One remarkable SAS student – Sadiki Saunders – has been named to both the Merit and Achievement lists.

“With 80 percent of our high school graduates leaving SAS with their MDC associate degrees in hand, we in essence are doubling the return on investment of these scholarships, since these graduates are already at least halfway through their college coursework,” said SAS Principal Dr. Omar Monteagudo. 

Big Jumpstart on Bachelor’s Degrees

Many SAS students also have taken AP classes that place them even further ahead in their college studies. While giving them a huge head start in obtaining their undergraduate degrees, the variety of course options at SAS also broadens their horizons in ways never before possible.

“From anthropology to microbiology, the dual-enrollment experience at SAS offered me numerous opportunities to explore subjects rarely offered at a normal high school,” said SAS student Elvis Hatcher, who recently was named a National Merit Scholar, has been accepted into the University of Pennsylvania and awaits news from other Ivy League schools later this spring.

Besides the intellectual stimulation, SAS also prepares students for life beyond high school by coaching them in skills ranging from personal finance and time management to coping with stress and adapting to living on their own.

Meeting the Challenge

“Being treated as an adult and given independent time to study made me more responsible than ever,” said SAS student Hazel Guardado, who recently was selected for the National Hispanic Recognition Program and is heading to Cornell University in the fall. “Thanks to SAS, my transition to college will be much easier now that I have had a taste of college life.”

While pushing students to excel, SAS never forgets the importance of having fun in high school and making friendships that will last a lifetime.

“The SAS teachers and counselors, rigorous curriculum and enduring kindness of my peers have helped me discover my potential,” said SAS student Kristiann Sprang, who has been accepted into the highly competitive National Achievement Scholarship Program and will be attending the University of Miami this fall on a university scholarship in mathematics. “SAS has sculpted me into the person I am today and paved the way for the person I hope to be in the future.”

With all these inspiring success stories, one can only imagine the future potential of this powerful partnership between MDC and SAS.

The Cream of the Crop

National Merit Scholars

Each year more than 1.5 million students compete in the National Merit Scholarship Recognition Program. Only 15,000 high school seniors around the country are selected. National Merit Scholars are chosen by virtue of their academic record, information about the school’s curricula and grading system, PSAT and SAT test scores, their high school official’s written recommendation, information about the student’s activities and leadership, and the finalists’ own essays. The four SAS students chosen this year excelled in all of these criteria. The very best universities in the United States seek National Merit Scholars for admission to their schools, and more than half of the Scholars are awarded $2,500 to attend the university of their choice.

National Achievement Scholarship Program

While more than 160,000 African-American students compete each year in the National Achievement Scholarship Program, only 1,300 are recognized as finalists. The three SAS students who achieved this honor had to meet the program’s high academic standards in addition to scoring very high on the PSAT in their junior year of high school. That high test score was then confirmed by a subsequent SAT score.

National Hispanic Recognition Program

In its nationwide search each year, the National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP) identifies nearly 5,000 outstanding Hispanic/Latino students. The program sends a list of all recognized students to subscribing colleges and universities, which then reach out to these talented scholars. Among the demanding requirements of this program, students must achieve high PSAT/NMSQT scores, have a GPA of 3.0 or higher by the end of their junior year, be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and be of at least one-quarter Hispanic/Latino descent. This year, 15 SAS students were chosen for this highly competitive program.

— BK

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Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
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