While it's critically important to acknowledge shortcomings in the public schools, it's just as important to recognize that many of the country's best and brightest are indeed among us, attending Clark County School District campuses.
Teens who score in the top 1 percent nationally on their PSATs are designated National Merit semifinalists. The PSAT, co-sponsored by the College Board and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, is a standardized exam that measures critical reading skills, math problem-solving skills and writing skills. The Review-Journal publishes occasional profiles on these students to bring well-deserved attention to their accomplishments, and to highlight that bright students can achieve their potential in public schools.
Among those the Review-Journal has profiled:
-- Nok Hun Kim, a Coronado High School student who moved to Las Vegas from South Korea at age 10 and learned English through immersion in regular classes.
-- Matthew Pohlmann, a Coronado High School student who can build a computer without instructions.
-- Matthew Solky, a Green Valley High School student whose interest in business and playing musical instruments led him into music production.
-- Shanel Wu, Clark High School's Varsity Quiz co-captain, whose interests include robotics and orchestra.
-- Forest Grayson, an aspiring astrophysicist from Green Valley High School who participates in band and orchestra.
-- Kristen Hsu, a Green Valley High School golfer, violinist and science and math honorary who hopes to become a dermatologist.
-- Genevieve Taylor, vice president of Green Valley High School's Young Democrats and captain of the soccer team.
-- Jason Singh, a nationally ranked debater at Green Valley High School.
-- Melanie Chambers, a nationally ranked golfer who sings in two choirs at Coronado High School.
Their achievements are not accidental. These young men and women work hard and juggle schedules that many adults can't handle. It takes dedication and a desire to go above and beyond to become a National Merit semifinalist.
Congratulations to Southern Nevada's top scholars. May we produce many more in the years ahead.