On March 13, 2020, senior Matthew Strahman was awarded the NEHS Common Reader Scholarship. Last year, he won the scholarship as a junior ,and this yea he entered as a senior. In addition to a certificate, Strahlman received $300, funded by the county NEHS chapters.
Seniors Dana Kullgren and Catherine Amereihn were also presented with honorable mentions for the essays they entered in the competition, as well as $100 each. The essays were each judged by retired Montgomery County teachers.
Parents and siblings of the three recipients gathered in the main office with Principal Nancy Doll and Natalie Rebetsky to celebrate the awards.
Ms. Rebestky, NEHS Advisor for Linganore and county organizer for the scholarship, decided that holding an essay competition was an important method to increase participation in the NEHS national essay contest. “We created this opportunity last year because in Frederick County, very few people ever applied to the National Honor Society Common Reader Scholarship. I felt that our students were really missing out on a lot of scholarship money. Last year we applied for a local grant and got it, and last year we were able to give $500 dollars of scholarship money at the local level.”
“This year, we had a much more difficult book. You three read a pretty challenging book, but a rewarding book,” Rebetsky said to the recipients.
The essay each contestant wrote was about the book A Place For Us, a novel that goes deep into the complications of sibling relationships. Stralhman said, “I liked how every character was just so real and you could identify with each and every one, and you could look back on your life and see moments that were very similar to what was happening in the book.”
Doll said, “I am always impressed with students who go beyond.”
For some students, participating in the competition was a motivator. “This year I was really trying to get back into reading books, and it worked–it actually got me reading again,” said Kullgren.
The three seniors also entered the national contest and are waiting for the results.