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Overland High School celebrates seniors’ success
Overland High School senior Stephen Whitnah, a National Merit Scholar, has been awarded a Beering Presidential Scholarship from Purdue University, where he will study Aerospace Engineering.  This prestigious scholarship covers tuition, room and board, and other expenses, not just for an undergraduate degree, but also for a graduate and a doctoral degree!
“I was stunned,” said Whitnah of learning he was one of five Beering Scholarship recipients selected from the 93 students invited to apply for the scholarship.  He credits the outstanding teachers and challenging courses he took at Overland, as well as his involvement in the Speech and Debate and Newspaper clubs, for honing the skills that helped him write a scholarship-winning essay, which was based on his experiences at Overland.
“Overland is a hidden gem,” said Whitnah’s mother, Sue Whitnah.  “The school is so success-oriented for every single kid.”
Perhaps that explains why Whitnah is not the only senior to earn an impressive scholarship or acceptance to a highly-selective school.  At an “Academic Signing Ceremony” held May 18 and modeled after traditional athletic signing ceremonies for student-athletes, Overland celebrated the accomplishments of eight students who will attend very selective institutions.
For example, Breanna Kolbe, senior class president and three sport CHSAA athlete award winner, was accepted to the United States Naval Academy Prep School where she will study Systems Engineering for one year before moving on to the US Naval Academy for four years.  Kolbe turned down a $180,000 NROTC scholarship after being accepted to the Academy Prep School, where her tuition is completely covered.
Megan Synn was awarded $15,000 per year from Chapman University in Orange, California, where she will study Broadcast Journalism.
Ashleigh Kanack received the Frank Armstrong Scholarship which will provide $12,000 toward her studies in Biochemistry at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa.
Sarah Holmes, the State Champion in FBLA for “Emerging Business Issues” as well as captain of the Speech and Debate and Lacrosse teams, will study Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines.
Kelly Pieper received an Alvey Scholarship and was admitted to the Honors Program at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
“I’m very proud, but not surprised,” said Kelly’s mother, Lisa Pieper.  “She’s always been very dedicated academically.”
Christofer Barnes, an Advanced Placement Scholar who also won several music awards while at Overland, will study Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maryland at College Park.
Crystal Gertig received a Leadership Award from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY where she will study Electrical Engineering. 
Rensselaer was the only school she applied to.  “I went and visited last summer and it just felt like home,” said Gertig.
Congratulations to these students and all the graduates in the Class of 2011!
Posted 6/15/2011 1:46 PM
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