Former Aquinas Alumni Recognized by National Merit Scholarship Program

Clare Kearns, former Aquinas Learning Alta student in the Manassas Center, was recently awarded a letter of commendation from her current school, Oakcrest, and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test which serves as an initial screen of approximately 1.6 million entrants each year. Commended students placed among the top 50,000 by taking the 2016 PSAT/MNSQT.

“Clare is a student of wonder. She seeks knowledge for its own sake, ever pursuing the truth of the text, not satisfied with surface-level summaries,” said Kathleen Sullivan, Clare’s AP English teacher at Oakcrest. “She reads, writes and participates in a way that demonstrates her genuine desire to learn about the principles that shape who we are as humans.” Kearns earned an Oakcrest Outstanding Achievement and Commitment Award for her class in 2015, a gold medal in the National Classical Etymology exam in 2016 and the Magna Cum Laude Award in the 2017 National Latin Exam.

Clare was in Aquinas Learning for her 6th and 7th grade years, and she says she “really enjoyed the classroom discussions as well as the opportunities for creative collaboration with her peers.” When in Cycle 3, she and her classmates made a movie based in colonial times called “Courageous Companions.” Clare is currently the associate organist at St. Veronica Catholic Church and in her senior year at Oakcrest. While not sure where she’s heading for college yet, she is hoping to major in philosophy while continuing to support the liturgy through playing the organ at Mass.

Clare’s older sister, Anne, attended Aquinas Learning for two years, 2011-2013 (8th and 9th grade) and is now a sophomore in college. Anne says that the “writing we did and the logic we studied had a big influence on me.” She also says she had a really great class and enjoyed the group discussions (which have served her well at Oakcrest as well as in college). Anne graduated from Oakcrest in 2016 and was awarded one of the two Presidential Scholarships at DeSales University. She is in the nurse scholars program and hopes to achieve her masters by 2021. She is also in the Faith and Reason honors program (and may end up with a philosophy minor).

 

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