Bethany and Audrey

Bethany Perry, left, and Audrey Lovell were selected to attend Missouri Scholars Academy this summer. Photo by Stan Schwartz

Prestigious honor is for select group drawn from high schools from across the state

Audrey Lovell and Bethany Perry were selected to attend the Missouri Scholars Academy this summer. News of their selection came just the week before. The two young women said they were excited about attending the academy.

According to the University of Missouri, the “Missouri Scholars Academy is a three-week residential program for 330 of Missouri’s academically gifted students who are ready to begin their junior year of high school. The academy is held each June on the campus of the University of Missouri and administered by the University of Missouri Honors College.

“The Academy reflects Missouri’s desire to strive for excellence in education at all levels. The program is based on the premise that Missouri’s gifted youth must be provided with special opportunities for learning and personal development in order for them to realize their full potential.”

Alison Frederickson, who oversees the gifted student program for Bowling Green R-I schools, said this selection process is tough for this extremely prestigious program. Only two students from each of the state’s high schools are picked to addend the Missouri Scholars Academy.

Audrey said they started the process last November. They had to get recommendation letters from one community member and two teachers in addition to writing two essays.

“The process is even more involved that a college application,” Frederickson said.

Bethany said they also had to include information on their activities inside and outside of school, such as membership in clubs and organizations.

“We also had to include our ACT scores,” Audrey said.

When she gets to college, Audrey said she would like to study something within the medical field. Both her essays centered on this theme, she added. She wants to be part of the profession that finds cures for various types of cancers.

Bethany said she wrote about wanting people to be more understanding of each other, and find ways to come together despite their differences.

The last time students were selected for the Missouri Scholars Academy the country was in the midst of the pandemic, so the two students selected had to attend the academy virtually.

This year, Audrey and Bethany will be able to travel to Columbia, Mo., to attend classes in person and get a taste of what college life will be like when they do graduate from high school and go off to university. The program runs from June 12 to July 2.

“It’s exciting to be able to meet people like us,” Audrey said, “and to be someplace I’ve never been before.”

Bethany echoed Audrey’s excitement about being able to attend classes on the university’s campus for three weeks.

Frederickson said there would be chaperones and guides to help them navigate the sprawling campus in downtown Columbia.

The two students are still in the process of selecting the classes they would like to take when they’re on campus.

Audrey is looking at classes in the medical field and Bethany, who wants to become a speech therapist to help children to communicate, is looking for classes that would help in that area.

The two students said they believe this academy would better acclimate them to college life before they even graduate from high school. They also believe having the Missouri Scholars Academy on their transcripts will go a long way in helping them get into the college they want once they start their college application process.

They also said they hope the other MSA students they meet on campus would make good contacts throughout their lives.

In addition being excited for themselves for this opportunity, Audrey said her family was excited for her.

“My mom was excited because this is an opportunity she didn’t know existed,” Audrey said.

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