The National Achievement Scholarship Program announced last week that one of Havre High School’s Blue Ponies is on his way toward winning nationwide scholarship prizes.
Aaron Gales, a Havre High School senior, is one of 1,600 semi-finalists in the contest, attempting to be one of 1,300 finalists announced in January. Of those, 700 will earn “one-time NAS National Achievement $2500 Scholarships, ” according to the press release, and 100 will earn “Achievement Scholarship awards, ” underwritten by “corporate and business sponsors. ”
Gales made it this far on his scores for the 2011 PSAT test. Now he has to “present a record of high academic performance throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay and earn SAT scores that confirm (his) PSAT/NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) performance. ”
“I’m feeling pretty good about it, ” Gales said.
For Gales’ essay, on who has influenced his life, he is writing about the author Maya Angelou.
“When I was in middle school, I was a horrible student, ” Gales said. “I read her autobiography, and it inspired me to do better in school and use the resources available to me. I realized I could be as successful as her, and she was worse off than I was.
“I want to succeed and help other people do better like she does. ”
Now a few years from his epiphany, Gales is taking AP U. S. History, AP English Literature and AP Government. He already took AP tests for Spanish and Calculus, so he is tutoring this year’s students. He’s taken every advanced placement class available, except for art.
Gales is hoping the scores, scholarship and academic ambition will help him get into the University of Pennsylvania business school, or maybe the University of North Carolina, or the University of Washington, where his brother went.
Wherever he ends up, Gales recognizes he couldn’t have done it without his teachers.
“A lot of teachers motivated me to actually try. If it were up to me I wouldn't have tried on the PSAT, and I would have gotten a worse score, ” Gales said.
Havre Public Schools Superintendent Andy Carlson also believes that the recent announcements about Havre students’ achievements, including Gales’, are a testament to the staff.
“It’s impressive. It’s definitely exciting for our district and for those students, ” Carlson said. “It’s a real credit to them and to our staff at Havre High. ”