Competition for President's Scholarship Provides Students With Opportunity

Kya Sanchez, high school senior at Victor J. Andrew High School in Tinley Park, Illinois, questions Student Ambassador Elizabeth Skelly about her experiences in the Bearcat Marching Band during Distinguished Scholars Day Saturday, Feb. 16. Sanchez plans to attend Northwest and play trumpet in the BMB.

Top high school scholars and potential Northwest students competed for the President’s Scholarship Feb. 16.

Students who attended the Distinguished Scholars Day event were interviewed by faculty members and staff for the $8,000 President’s Scholarship. More than 167 top students from several states went to the event, and only 10 will be selected for the scholarship. The students will know by March 1 if they are chosen.

The interviews consisted of one or two faculty and staff members getting to know the students better and evaluating their eligibility for the scholarship on more accounts than academics alone. Those in attendance had ACT scores of 27-36 and a minimum high school GPA of 3.75.

Though the competition was high, the event gave students a day of more than just nervously awaiting important interviews.

The day began with an opening message from Provost Jamie Hooyman. Teary-eyed, she began by describing what it means to be a Bearcat and opened her speech with a moment of silence for the recent passing of a beloved student.

“She was a true Bearcat,” Hooyman said.

Hooyman’s speech gave students a vision of how close Northwest’s community is with each and every student — focused on the success of every individual.

After Hooyman’s speech, half of the group was dismissed to the first round of interviews, and two student panels answered questions both potential Bearcats and their parents had about college life at Northwest.

While the students had interviews, a separate session took place for the parents where they were able to learn about more aspects of Northwest like financial assistance, residential life, the University Police Department and the honors program.

Students were then able to meet back up with their parents and attend academic sessions with the department of their interest. A University representative presented information on academics in specific areas of study and was able to answer further questions the students had.

Lunch was served in the J.W. Jones Student Union boardroom and ballroom, where closing remarks were made by event leaders. At the end of the event, there was an optional campus tour led by Northwest students and staff members.

Campus Visit Coordinator Kristen Little helped put on the event and noted the day was about more than just competition.

“This was a day for students to learn about Northwest, not just academics, but meet other Bearcats and get to know each other,” Little said.

North Andrew High School student Logan Hughes said the event helped him realize all the opportunities at Northwest.

“It helped me learn about events on campus, how to get involved and class options I didn’t know about before,” Hughes said.

Another potential Bearcat, Meghan Essink from Freeman High School in Adams, Nebraska, said it was a great way to meet other Northwest students.

“I met a lot of interesting people and learned what Northwest was all about,” Essink said. “Today helped confirm my decision to become a Bearcat.”

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