Special to the Journal
Serena Shedore, a senior at Belton High School, earned a perfect score on the ACT and has been selected as a semifinalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program for her performance on the Preliminary SAT (PSAT). Shedore earned the highest possible ACT composite score of 36, an accomplishment that less than one-tenth of one percent of students who take the ACT achieve on average. In the U.S. high school graduating class of 2016, only 2,235 out of nearly 2.1 million graduates who took the ACT earned a composite score of 36. To qualify as a National Merit Semifinalist, Shedore’s high scores on the PSAT placed her in the top one percent of more than 1.6 million students who took the test last fall. Shedore prepared for both tests by setting goals and targeting specific areas for improvement, finding motivation in the scholarship opportunities and the challenge itself. In encouragement of other students achieving such success, Shedore said “the achievement of your goals requires effort, as well as talent.”
Belton High School English teacher, Richard Tolleson, shared that he was not surprised in the least at Shedore’s achievement on both the PSAT and ACT, adding “Serena always wanted to be a better student. She took constructive criticism well and applied herself.”
In addition to her success in the classroom, Shedore is active in extra-curricular activities and serves in positions of leadership in many student organizations. Elected as Vice President of Belton High School Student Council, she is also Vice President of the National Honor Society and President of Key Club. She plays the viola in the Belton High School Orchestra and volunteers with ASTRA – Young Altrusans. She also is a member of Belton High School’s UIL Academic Team, competing and placing in the top 10 at various local, regional and state level competitions. Shedore is still in the process of visiting college campuses but has said her current top contender is Rice University. She plans to major in Classical Civilizations and then go on to medical school.
As the next step in the scholarship competition, Shedore will submit essays, recommendations and additional test scores to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Finalists will be announced between April and June 2018. Of an approximately 50,000 high scoring students nationwide, four other Belton High School students received letters of commendation related to their PSAT scores. Madeline Finley, Jacob Kyle, Alec Ramba and Katherine Shelburne were recognized for their high scores and “outstanding academic promise.”
Madeline Finley is the daughter of James Finley and Vicky Finley of Temple. She competes on Belton High School’s varsity swim team. She is NHS president and an officer on student council. Maddie plans to attend University of Texas at Austin or Colorado School of Mines.
Jake Kyle is the son of David Kyle and Amy Kyle of Temple. He actively competes in UIL Academics. Jake is a Member of the National Society of High School Scholars. Upon graduation, he plans to attend Texas Christian University.
Alec Ramba is the son of Mark and Jacque Ramba of Belton. He is an active member of Student Council, National Honor Society, and the City of Belton Youth Advisory Commission. As an attendee at Texas Boy’s State, he was elected a county delegate and a House Representative.
Alec plays for the Austin Amigos, a Youth Club Championship ultimate frisbee team and the Men’s U-20 Division II National Champions for 2017. Upon graduation, he plans to attend Minerva Schools at KGI or the University of Texas to major in biology.
Katherine Shelburne is the daughter of Theresa Shelburne of Belton and Audell Shelburne of Tahlequah, Oklahoma. She is a member of the Belton High School cross country team and the Marching 100, where she serves as a uniform manager. Katherine also competes in UIL Academics and Quizbowl. She has been involved with community service through National Honor Society and her church, The Vine. Katherine plans to pursue a degree in engineering after graduation.