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5 area students earn National Merit honors

By Christina Lane
Feb. 18, 2011 at 7 p.m.


East Texas schools have produced five National Merit scholars.

Claire Henderson of Longview High School, Molly McGuire of Pine Tree High School, William Blake Godsey of Christian Heritage School, Matthew Brooks of Hallsville High School and Jordan Cook of White Oak High School have been named finalists in the 2011 National Merit Scholarships.

They are five of about 15,000 high school seniors nationwide who have the opportunity to obtain one or more of the National Merit Scholarships.

More than $36 million National Merit Scholarships will be given out this year, according to a statement from the organization.

Between March and June, about 8,200 American high school students are notified they have been selected to receive a National Merit Scholarship award.

There are three Merit Scholarships, such as $2,500 scholarships, corporate-sponsored scholarships and college-sponsored scholarships.

Henderson, daughter of Mandy and Steve Henderson, plans to attend Baylor University. Her goal is to become a publisher or a book editor. While attending Longview High School, Henderson has been a member of the varsity golf team, her church youth choir and has served on the Texas Bank and Trust Student Board of Directors. Longview High School students Matthew Cole, Britton Eastburn and Hannah McDonald were named National Merit commended scholars.

McGuire, daughter of Andy and Elisabeth McGuire, plans to study at Texas A&M University. While at Pine Tree High School, she has participated in University Interscholastic League and earned many awards. She has also been a member of the drill team, Z-club, Spanish club, theater and peer assistance groups in addition to taking part in activities at Mobberly Baptist Church. McGuire is ranked second in her high school class.

Pine Tree High School students Adam Allen and Jared Smart were named commended students in National Merit Scholarship competition.

"I congratulate each of the outstanding students receiving this honor," Pine Tree High School Principal Cindy Gabehart said. "We are so proud to be able to recognize their outstanding individual performance, academic ability and potential for successful pursuit of rigorous college programs. Our district salutes each of these scholastic champions and wishes them success in their endeavors to advance in this prestigious scholarship program."

Godsey plans to attend Texas A&M University, majoring in psychology. Godsey, the son of Bill and Cindy Godsey, is a summa cum laude student who is active in athletics. He has been the goal-keeper on the Christian Heritage School state finalist soccer team for two years and is the leading scorer on the basketball team. He is researching U.S. immigration policies and other immigration-related issues for his senior thesis. Godsey attends Mobberly Baptist Church and has worked with the Luis Palau Association.

White Oak High School senior Cook plans to study electrical engineering at Tulsa University, Baylor University, Texas A&M, Massachusetts Institute of Technology or LeTourneau University. He is the son of Brad Cook and is ranked second in his class with a 4.3745 grade point average.

Cook has participated in UIL academics, winning state championships in math and science as well as debate honors and band activities. He is active at Oakland Heights Baptist Church in Longview.

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