Hancock High School Recognizes Three National Merit Semi-finalists
January 20, 2017
A voice over the intercom at Hancock High School interrupted the beginning of class stating there was an important announcement: Hancock High School Class of 2017 boasts 3 National Merit Semi-finalists – Amy Keith, Marie Konopacki, and Timothy Papania. The National Merit Scholarship Program, conducted by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, is an annual academic competition for recognition and college undergraduate scholarships. The semifinalists represent the top 1% of the over 1.5 million students in about 22,000 high schools who enter the National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). All three students were in Senior Seminar class at the time of the announcement. HHS Principal Tara Ladner with assistant principals, guidance staff and some faculty burst into the classroom to congratulate the three and offer gifts from their school. Principal Ladner told the students, “We are so very, very proud of you!” Two of the three students participated in Hancock High School’s PSAT prep class before school last year.
Amy Keith of Diamondhead is the daughter of David and Sharon Keith. Amy is a member of the Hancock Youth Leadership Academy and serves on the Chemours Community Advisory Panel. She is active in the BETA Club serving as President and a state officer. She was an inspirational speaker at the Mississippi and Virginia BETA Conventions. She has participated in numerous leadership programs including Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, Coast Electric Power Cooperative Rural Electric Cooperatives Youth Tour of Jackson, MS and Washington, D.C. Power Cooperative, American Legion Magnolia Girls’ State, Beta-Broyhill Leadership Conference, Mississippi Governor’s School. Amy has received many academic and involvement awards. She is applying to many universities across the United States and plans to double major in Biological Sciences and Mathematics.
Marie Konopacki of Diamondhead is the daughter of Mark and Ivette Konopacki. Marie is founder & Editor-in-Chief of the Hancock High School newspaper and captain of the cross country team. She was the 2016 Doodle 4 Google Winner for Mississippi. She is a member of the Hancock County Youth Leadership Academy. She has been awarded a Gold Key in Poetry and is an American Voices Nominee. Marie is an active Beta club member serving as vice-president. She participated in McMullan Young Writers Workshop, American Legion Magnolia Girls’ State and Mississippi’s Governor School. She is applying to several universities including Harvard and plans major in government/political science and one day run for office or work on a campaign.
Timothy Allen Papania of Picayune is the son of Cynthia & Brian Papania. Timothy has served as the Battalion Commander for Hancock Junior R.O.T.C. Hawk Battalion. He received the Military Order of the Purple Heart Medal for unrivaled cadet performance as the Battalion Executive Officer/Acting Battalion Commander in the Hancock High Junior R.O.T.C. and the Military Order of the World Wars Medal for outstanding cadet performance in the Hancock High Junior R.O.T.C. He is a member of the Hancock County Youth Leadership Academy and has served as a Habitat for Humanity Housing Initiative volunteer. Timothy has been a member of the Varsity Archery team. He plans to attend the University of Chicago and major in Economics.
*Cathy Wilson, Hancock County Schools, is credited for supplying this story to Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission.