By Nick Lewis
Congratulations to Mary Kate Miller! Congratulations to her parents, Karen and Rick Miller, as well.
Mary Kate was named to the Society of Yeager Scholars at Marshall University. She is one of six students nationwide to be selected to the class of 2017. I would imagine that many in this community have never heard of this elite and very prestigious award. I have, and it’s a big deal. Quite frankly, it’s bigger than any athletic scholarship one could receive.
According to the NCAA, approximately 156,000 high school students receive full or partial athletic scholarships to colleges and universities each year. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation awards approximately 10,000 scholarships annually. Since the Society of Yeager Scholars was created in 1987, approximately 156 students have been awarded this prestigious scholarship. You can see why it is such a big deal, and we should all be proud of Mary Kate.
I was happy the Richmond Register treated Mary Kate’s accomplishment with similar exposure and flair to that which Dominique Hawkins received for being awarded an athletic scholarship in basketball to the University of Kentucky.
So, kudos goes out to my editor, Bill Robinson, for putting the story out front, for putting academic accomplishments on the same level as athletics. Unfortunately, athletics get more press than academics and that’s sad. I’m glad we got it right this time.
When Bill told me last week about Mary Kate’s accomplishment, it hit home with me. My daughter was a finalist in 1996, but was not selected. That’s why I know a lot about it and could tell Bill what it takes to be in the Society of Yeager Scholars.
All finalists must meet the basic criteria of being at the top in academics, a minimum composite of 30 on ACT or SAT equivalent, involvement in extra-curricular activities and community service. They must exhibit leadership, creativeness and intellectual curiosity.
To be selected to this society, you have to have the right stuff. My daughter went through a phone interview as well as one in person. How they handle themselves in this process determines which students have the right stuff. That’s why it’s such a big deal. Only the very best earn the right to join the Society of Yeager Scholars at Marshall University.
Mary Kate obviously has the right stuff, and I’m sure she will excel at Marshall University. Not only will she get a great education, she will find a university and community that embrace each other. It’s a love affair like no other.
She will find Marshall University to be a special place, especially on game day during football season. She will hear that familiar chant “We are Marshall” and “Go Herd” and feel the thunder. If she or her parents haven’t seen the movie, “We Are Marshall,” I would encourage them to do so; it helps people understand more about this love affair. And I would be happy to provide her with her own copy to keep.
So, Mary Kate … welcome to the Herd nation and family. You are obviously a special young lady, and I know Marshall University alumni everywhere will be proud of you.
Congratulations to you, and your parents, and Go Herd!