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LSMSA seniors from Natchitoches Parish recognized as Elite Scholars

Seven LSMSA seniors were recently recognized as Elite Scholars. The Natchitoches Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Northwestern State University and the Excellence in Education Coalition hosted an Elite Scholars Ceremony on May 18 to honor select seniors living in and attending schools in Natchitoches Parish. Elite Scholars included Byron Pinckley, Andrea Chen, Gloria Church, Mary Long, David Peters, Margaret Wheat and Stephen Wheat.
Students were required to meet stringent academic criteria to be invited as an honoree. Students from and LSMSA, St. Mary’s Catholic School, Natchitoches Central High School, and Lakeview High School who met criteria were all honored as Elite Scholars.
LSMSA Seniors Gloria Church and Andrea Chen also placed in the Elite Scholar Essay contest and received $250 scholarships matched by NSU.
The prompt: SCHOLARSHIP ESSAY PROMPT 1: We hope that following your high school education success, you will go on to accomplish big things! In 500 words or less tell us--whether you are moving away, or if you plan to stay, how will you use your education to give back to your community?
Andrea’s essay:
As a first-generation American with immigrant parents, I’ve always had to help the doctor connect the dots with my mother’s broken English, serving as her translator when she could not find the right words to describe her symptoms. This resulted in many instances of second-hand embarrassment and frustration with my mother’s oftentimes incoherent sentences. However, now I’ve come to appreciate the effort it takes to learn another language, not to mention the difficult experiences that immigrants have in residing in another country. 
While I used to find it embarrassing that my parents could not speak English as well as a child, I now am able to empathize with the struggles that immigrants and low-income patients face when trying to access adequate treatment in healthcare. 
I plan on attending Tulane University in the fall of 2021, and afterwards Tulane Medical School. In the future, I envision myself as a practicing physician in our country’s underprivileged communities. Through volunteering and personal experience, I’ve noticed long ago that there needs to be better access and treatment for foreign immigrants and low-income citizens. 
From financial barriers to dismissal by staff, my family and I have been limited by various barriers to proper medical treatment. There were instances in which we avoided medical treatment if the ailment was not urgent. I hope to work to create a more inclusive environment for others in healthcare and aid those who may have been dissuaded from medical treatment by racial or socioeconomic factors. These reasons have led me to attend school at Tulane in New Orleans, where there is a growing need for more healthcare workers and a diverse, bustling population from all walks of life. 
Because I’m only one person, I don’t expect to change the entire world in a mere lifetime. However, I hope to better the lives of the patients I serve. Perhaps that may be in a rural town like where I live now, in a bustling low-income community like where I used to live, or overseas in a place that I’ve never been. I’ll be wherever people need me the most. 
Communication, perseverance, and empathy will remain important to me. With these goals in mind, I had the opportunity to apply for Tulane’s Pathway to Medicine Program during my college application process, which granted me admission into Tulane Medical School as a high school student. Science has led to my interest in medicine, and the human connection has continued to foster it. My experience in the hospitals working alongside the doctors and nurses cemented my desire to become a physician, but I acknowledge that the system has imperfections. In 20 years, I’d be able to translate my mother’s symptoms and alleviate the hardships associated with a simple check-up on the other side at the doctor’s office. 
Now I can acknowledge that I’ve walked two steps closer to my dream: 
Step 1: Tulane-Newcomb Honors College
Step 2: Tulane Medical School
SCHOLARSHIP ESSAY PROMPT 2: In 500 words or less tell us about your proudest academic achievement.
Gloria’s Essay:
As a high achieving student at the Louisiana School for “the best and brightest,” I don’t want to brag about just another score or award I received. Instead, I’m going to narrate a milestone that will stick with me for the rest of my life, through my next few degrees, and to the job I’ll retire to. 
My proudest academic achievement is learning how to fail. My first couple of months at the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts were rough; it was probably the roughest time of my life. Not only did I have to adjust to a new living space I had to adjust to eight college level courses in my junior year of high school. My first quizzes of the year I didn’t do too hot on. I failed my very first quiz in high school, then I failed my second and third. By then I was failing the course with a twenty percent. 
I had never seen those numbers next to my name before because I never struggled in academics, especially not like this. After the third quiz, we had progress evaluations and I had to explain to my advisor how I was failing the course. She understood, I am sure I wasn’t unique in this, and I told her I was working hard to pull it back up. Most of my class was also failing, but it was not my teacher, oh no, it was all on us. 
Ends up that schedule thing called a syllabus is more helpful than you would think. Each day on the syllabus told us what to study and when we would have a quiz. Now that I discovered that I knew when and what the quizzes would be on, I studied hard and managed to pull my grade up. 
I never failed another quiz in that course and ended the semester with my first high school B average. From this temporary failure, I understood what it meant to get a B at the Louisiana School and that I worked for my proud B more than I had worked for any grade before. I failed in the beginning, but that was okay because in the end I succeeded. 
I learned that there had to be a reason I was failing and from that I figured out how to fix it. The same pattern of failing and recovering took place again and again throughout the rest of high school. In the end, I pulled my grade back up every time that I failed. Because I was able to successfully fail a couple of times, I gained more resilience and the general idea of how to recover from a not so pretty outcome. 
I am sure in college it will not be much different. I will just learn how to recover from that failure and succeed from my mistakes, so that I can become a better student who knows how to turn around a deteriorating grade.