Erica Morris and Rachel Averitt

MVC seniors Rachel Averitt and Erica Morris have been recognized as National Merit Finalists, a highly coveted academic honor ultimately awarded to fewer than one percent of the initial pool of applicants.

Academic Advisor Cheryl Wassall explains further: "The National Merit road is a journey not for the faint of heart. Students enter the National Merit competition when they take the PSAT in October of their junior year. It is not until 16 months later, in February of their senior year, that they receive notification of their advancement to finalist standing. Along that path they scale many hurdles and are required to provide proof on multiple levels that they are worthy recipients of the recognition. Receiving that Certificate of Merit is a great accomplishment but the lucrative scholarship awards from the National Merit Corporation, corporate sponsors or sponsor schools truly make it worth the trip."

These two outstanding young women have not only been academic high achievers, but they've also been student leaders in numerous areas of school life.

Amber Drew, MVC English teacher, explains that "Rachel is a leader and an innovator: she never settles for the minimum or average standard in any pursuit, but finds a way to make each project so original, enlightening, and simply excellent, that it exists in its own superior standard. She does not shy away from taking on a challenge, but rather makes it her own."

Mrs. Melissa Thompson, MVC mathematics teacher, says that "Erica is a delight and an easy student to teach.  She loves and leads her Citadel house well.  She grasps Calculus “easily” through her conscientious and determined study. And, almost every morning, her quick wit, accompanied by her winning smile, brighten my day."

Two National Merit Finalists in a single graduating class of 17 students is a reflection not only of these two young women's extraordinary effort and giftedness, but also of the strong support of their parents and the faculty at Mingo Valley Christian. Erica Morris says, "At MVC, the teachers focus on making sure you understand the material, not just know it for the test. Because the classes are so small, they are able to pay individualized attention to you and help you one-on-one if you need it. MVC also teaches you to think for yourself. Instead of giving up on a math problem you don't understand, the teachers challenge you to reason through what you know and try to come up with a solution. In our Bible classes, we learn how to use logic to defend our faith. Spanish classes emphasize patterns in language rather than having us learn every word by rote memory. This type of thinking is crucial especially in standardized tests and has helped me immensely. "

In addition to these two young women, Senior Carly Torres was National Merit Commended and was recognized as a National Hispanic Scholar.

The entire Mingo Valley Christian family commends Rachel, Erica, and Carly, their parents, and their teachers for these well-deserved honors.

Read more in the Tulsa World.