The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

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By Forrest Hershberger
Publisher, Sun-Telegraph 

SHS Students Selected for Merit Scholarship


October 27, 2021 | View PDF

The Sidney Board of Education commended Sidney High School students Daniel Bashtovoi and Rishi Krisna as National Merit Scholar Semi-Finalists.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) recently announced the names of about 16,000 semifinalists in the 67th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for about 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $30 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. About 95 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and approximately half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

“It is a big deal,” said Sidney High School Principal Chris Arent. “It doesn't come up every year. To have two students the same year is special.”

The Sidney School Board reviewed and approved seven early graduation requests.

In the Oct. 11 board meeting, the school board approved mid-term graduation requests by Hannah Haas, Kyra Johnson, Natalie Stokes, Jasmine Perez, Jackson Russell, Jade Vowers and Paige Maddox.

By the high school handbook, “graduation at the end of the first semester of the senior year may be granted by a Special Graduation Committee composed of the superintendent of school, the high school principal, the director of guidance and one faculty representative appointed by the principal and one member of the board of education.”

The board also updated the district's policy on audio and video recordings, a requirement related to Zoom classes that occurred during the COVID restrictions.

Keala Cole was recognized as the district's staff member of the month. The award is sponsored Dairy Queen, French Door and Sidney Floral.

During the board reports, director Mike Palmer brought up the issue of parents, the public, addressing the board. The issue is regarded another school district where parents were referred to as “domestic terrorists.” Palmer said the public should be encouraged to attend school board meetings and share their concerns.

“We should not be discouraging people from coming,” he said.

Other board members talked about touring schools in the district, learning how education takes place in Sidney. Michelle Onstott was commended for receiving a $3,000 grant for a hearing machine. The machine is a non-invasive process of testing hearing, similar in design to an eye exam.

The district is also moving toward technological upgrade on its Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). The data will be moved to QR code accessibility.


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