Stories from Scott 2
Your story matters. You matter.
September 25, 2015
SHS student named as National Merit Scholarhsip Program semifinalist
Scottsburg High School senior Kaleb Mount was named a semifinalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program, an honor shared with only 16,000 students nationwide who received a high score on the Preliminary SAT test.
“It’s opened up a lot of doors for my future,” Mount said. “I worked really, really hard to do that. It paid off.”
For a couple of months, Mount studied for the test after time commitments throughout the day — classes, homework, and practices as a member of the two-time, consecutive state champion Indiana Academic Super Bowl Social Studies team and the 2014 state finalist Band of Warriors. In the late evening hours, Mount would spend one hour to review material from the PSAT preparation he purchased. If he did not know the answer to the question, Mount would bring it to school the next day for help from one of his teachers.
“If there was a problem I didn’t understand, I would bring it into my teachers, and they would break it down for me,” Mount said. “A lot of the teachers were helpful when I was getting prepared.”
The hard work paid off. He scored about 12 points higher than the typical high score in Indiana.
“It definitely does not come naturally,” Mount said. “Anyone can do well on a test if they are willing to do that hard work.”
The National Merit Scholarship Program initially recognizes 50,000 high-scoring students throughout the country. The program then whittles the number of students recognized in order to eventually choose winners. The program goes from 50,000 recognized students to about 34,000 in its commended students level. From the 34,000 commended students, the program cuts the number down to about 16,000 to name as semifinalists. The semifinalists, like Mount, are designated on a state-representational basis, meaning each state has a percentage of the highest scorers from the pool of 34,000 commended students chosen to advance to the semifinalist category.
Later in the school year, Mount will find out whether he will become a finalist and ultimately, a winner. The winners are chosen from about 15,000 finalists and finalists are scored on academic record, information about the school's curricula and grading system, two sets of test scores, the high school official's written recommendation, information about the student's activities and leadership, and the finalist's own essay, the National Merit Scholarship Program website said.
For being a National Merit Scholarship Program finalist and winner, several universities provide scholarships — some even full-tuition scholarships. Mount is looking at a few colleges that provide larger scholarships for being part of the National Merit Scholarship Program, including University of Cincinnati, University of Kentucky, and The University of Alabama. He plans to major in the humanities, such as political science or history, with his sights set on becoming a lawyer.
“I’ll graduate debt free,” said Mount about the scholarship opportunities available because of the National Merit Scholarship Program. “It will help me with my college applications and with my résumé.”
In the last five years, SHS has had three students recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Program.
Mount will find out if he will become a finalist in the spring.
Hard work, education proves valuable to teacher turned administrator at SES
Growing up, Jordan Warner, administrative assistant and elementary e-learning coordinator at Scottsburg Elementary School, quickly learned the value of hard work and education.
“My parents believed that I needed to work at places I didn’t enjoy,” Warner said about learning the value of education and hard work.
So, Warner went to work on a garbage truck and on a tobacco farm when he was in high school in Jefferson County, Ind.
“My parents were very supportive of where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do,” Warner said. But, for him and his sister, not going to college “was never an option for us.”
By seeing firsthand the value of hard work and education, Warner chose to become an educator in order to make a difference. His goal was not to necessarily save the world; it was to make school more enjoyable for students and teachers. As a student, Warner said he did not have as positive of an experience as he felt he could have had, so he wanted to improve upon it.
It was also his goal to become an administrator.
“I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to make it more fun,” Warner said.
After graduation at Franklin College for his undergraduate degree, Warner went to work for one year at a school in Shelbyville, Ind., and then, he took a job with Scott County School District 2, teaching at Lexington Elementary School for two years.
“I come from a family of teachers. My fiancée and my sister, who is four years older than me, are teachers in Carroll County, Ky. I’ve always loved working with the kids,” Warner said. “I love hearing them talk about things and talk about their weekend.”
During the summer, the administrative assistant and elementary e-learning coordinator position at SES became available when the former assistant principal and e-learning coordinator, Tiffany Barrett, was named the new principal at Vienna-Finley Elementary School. To reach his goals, Warner, who is nearing completion of his administrator’s license requirements and master’s degree from Western Governors University, applied for the job. Later, he was offered the position and accepted.
“[To become an administrator] was always the goal,” Warner said. “I am in charge of all the behavior for grades Kindergarten through fourth. I am also in charge of the bus dismissal at the back door of the school. [As an administrative assistant], you have to deal with the behind the scenes things — irate parents, being paged to classrooms or having to go somewhere, and teacher evaluations. You have to make the final say.”
Because his position is both administrative assistant and elementary e-learning coordinator, Warner spends the majority of his week as an administrative assistant and the other two days as e-learning coordinator for the elementary schools, where he helps teachers with implementing technology and finding new applications and programs for the classroom.
“I am passionate about researching. [Technology] has always come easy for me,” Warner said. “When you’re able to solve that problem for a teacher is the best part. I want to help out in some way.”
When Warner is not in the classroom or the office, he spends his time building and creating. During the summer, he works with mother at Midwest Gym Supply in Madison, Ind. The company installs custom gymnastics equipment and padding throughout the Eastern half of the United States.
“It’s something different,” Warner said. “We do gym installs, trampoline parks, and foam pits.”
Warner also likes to create and build in his backyard and around his house by using his carpentry and woodworking skills.
“My dad has always been the type we do things on our own,” Warner said about how he started his hobby in the building trades. “I will look at a photo and start building. I’m not the type that goes on instructions. I’m very go, go, go.”
For his nearly 2-year-old daughter, he created an elaborate, pink playhouse and playset. He created the play area from his own plans.
“I always wanted to build our playhouse,” Warner said.
Warner is making a difference whether he is helping teachers implementing technology in the classroom, he is holding the door open for a student during bus dismissal, or he is building into the lives of children during the day at Scottsburg Elementary School. At Scott County School District 2, Warner’s story is our story. Your story matters. You matter.