The Students Have Impressive Achievements in Journalism, Academics, Arts, Sports and Other Areas
By Gwen Girsdansky
Columbia, Mo. (Sept. 21, 2012) — Forty-nine of the brightest young journalists from the across the country began their careers at the Missouri School of Journalism as Walter Williams Scholars this fall. The students come from 14 states across the country.
Some academic accomplishments from the group as a whole include:
- Four National Merit Scholar Finalists
- Five National Merit Scholars
- Ten National Merit Commended Scholars
- Four AP Scholars with Distinctions
- Five valedictorians, two salutatorians
- Nine University of Missouri Discovery Fellows
- Two Al Neuharth Free-Spirit Scholars
Students must earn an ACT score of at least 33 (1440 for the SAT) to be considered for the Walter Williams Scholars program. Timothy Tai, of Missouri, earned a perfect 36 on the ACT.
“When you spend time with this exceptional group of students, it’s clear that they love to learn and are enthusiastic participants in furthering their own knowledge,” said Lynda Kraxberger, the School’s associate dean for undergraduate studies. “As a dedicated champion of journalism and education, Walter Williams would have been proud that they are a part of his legacy.”
This class of Walter Williams Scholars includes 16 students who served as editors-in-chief and co-editors for their student newspapers, yearbooks and literary magazines. A number of others served as editors and designers of various sections such as sports.
Stephanie Grant, of Missouri, earned a Top 10 test score in DECA International, and Rose McManus, of Missouri, qualified for the national DECA competition. Kaitlyn Doyle, of Illinois, was the Future Business Leaders of America job interview national champion.
Some students come prepped for the Missouri Method with previous experience at professional organizations. Aaron Pellish, from Illinois, was a copywriter for United Press International, and Mitch Sawyer was an intern at The Houston Chronicle. Elise Schmelzer, of Texas, had an article published in the national magazine Teen Ink.
Cassa Niedringhaus won the Colorado Journalist of the Year award. Sarah Darby was named the Kansas High School Journalist of the Year and was a runner-up in the National High School Journalist of the Year competition.
There are also students with international and foreign language experience. Paul Fentress, of Missouri, studied Chinese for four years; Lauren Slome, of Illinois, was in the National French Honor Society; and Marshall Maxwell was a member of the Texas State Latin Honor Society. Andrew Beasley, of Kansas, received a scholarship to study in India.
Others devoted time to the field playing varsity soccer, baseball, cross country and swimming. Ryan Levi, from Minnesota, was the captain of his high school football team. Jacob Steimer, from Tennessee, was the captain and most valuable back of the rugby team. Celia Doherty, of Illinois, was a Midwest Champion of horseback riding.
Some Walter Williams Scholars have been involved extensively in the arts. Kate Moore was a member of the All-State Drama Team in Iowa. There are leading actresses from the school musicals and plays, and participants in specialty choirs. Kate Gallagher, of Iowa, was an All-State Chorus member and varsity show choir section leader for two years. Emmitt Wright founded the Duchesne Jazz Combo in Missouri, and twice won the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award. Victoria Trampler, of Missouri, was a four-time state qualifier for the Missouri State High School Activities Association one-act drama plays.
Named after the School’s founding dean, Walter Williams, the highest-achieving incoming freshmen are selected by invitation into the program. Once on campus, students are placed in a special Freshman Interest Group, receive a personal faculty mentor and a $1,000 scholarship to study abroad or in New York City or Washington D.C., at any time before graduation.