Re-2 National Merit Scholar Finalists

Garfield Re-2 celebrates two National Merit Scholar Finalists
Posted on 03/03/2023
This is the image for the news article titled Garfield Re-2 celebrates two National Merit Scholar FinalistsThe Garfield Re-2 School District is home to two National Merit Scholar finalists - Rifle High School’s Oliver McCann-Klausz and Coal Ridge High School’s Caleb Thompson. These academically talented high school seniors represent less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors. Achieving National Merit Scholar status creates the opportunity for nearly $28 million in scholarships.

Oliver McCann-Klausz
Oliver has a deep appreciation for the power of music. From an early age, they were drawn to the way that music could lift their mood and provide a sense of comfort and connection. 

“I think that music has a healing power in a way. When you listen to music, it can really affect your mood and, it has the power to calm you down. I think it's just has such a wide variety of things it can do. And it's just like a good creative outlet for me to express myself and learn something new and feel like I'm contributing something.”Oliver McCann Klausz

Although ultimately undecided on a career choice, Oliver began to explore the idea of using music to help others, and quickly realized that music therapy could be the perfect career path for them. Their inspiration and committed to helping people find healing and wellness through the power of music has come from their parents.

“My parents are both involved with supporting people with developmental disabilities. so they've kind of inspired me to wanna help that same group of people. I'm involved in music, so it feels like music therapy would be a way for me to help them while also continuing with music. So I'm really considering that, but I haven't finished deciding yet.”

Oliver is a talented musician playing the bassoon, trumpet and “a little bit of trombone.” They are also in varsity choir and have earned high accolades for both their band and choir talent.

Becoming a National Merit Scholar will assist Oliver in attending college, although, all options are still on the table. 

“I'm really considering a lot of things. I might be in state, I might be out of state. I’m still evaluating a lot of programs at colleges.”

Caleb Thompson
Just like every U.S.senior contemplating college, Caleb Thompson has been applying to, and interviewing with colleges. Not many of them are are doing it remotely from Turkey.

Caleb is currently finishing his second semester as a foreign exchange student through Rotary International in the Middle Eastern country. The experience was inherently an adventure, but the recent earthquakes in the region have provided Caleb the experience of a lifetime supporting his adopted community and neighbors by setting up tent cities, working in food banks, and interpreting for English speaking aid organizations as much needed help pours in. 

Caleb ThompsonCaleb is hoping to utilize the opportunities that the devastating earthquakes have brought to him to give back to the region.

“Turkey will always be a part of me. I think in the future I want to study international relations and also study statistics. I’m hoping to be a person that can bring those two things together because it's not that often that international relations students are super interested in analytical thinking. I want to become an expert in learning different languages and different cultures so that I can be a useful person for promoting peace and just overall well-being in this region that I think has not seen a lot of that in the last few years.”

Caleb is not setting his heart on any one school, but keeping his options open. He’s already been accepted into Colorado College, Colorado University, and Denver University. He has applications in at Stanford, Claremont McKenna College, Princeton, Georgetown John’s Hopkins, and University of Chicago - trying to set himself up for the best possible position to give back.

“Adding a prestigious award such as the National Merit Scholar would help so much as I am applying to colleges. It is something that sets applicants apart. I'm hoping to do very ambitious things in the future so becoming an National Merit Scholar would certainly help.”

High school juniors entered the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2021 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®). The nationwide pool of finalists, represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors. Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2023. Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit® $2500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 180 corporations and business organizations provide scholarships for National Merit Scholars and about 160 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 3,800 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.
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