Havre Daily News
The Havre High School main office displays the pictures of the school's past National Merit finalists. This year HHS can add another one, Joseph Shelton, who also has the distinction of receiving a National Merit Scholarship.
Shelton was lauded among Havre High School's National Honor Society inductees, departmental award winners and academic letter and pin recipients Monday night at the Havre High School auditorium.
His award was presented last, with an apt introduction. HHS principal Jim Donovan said he's noticed that the award recipients are generally quiet students whose actions speak louder than their words. With that, he presented Shelton's award.
There are three types of sponsors of National Merit Scholarships - corporate, college and those sponsored by the National Merit Scholarship organization. Only half of the 15,000 National Merit finalists nationally each year are selected for scholarships. Finalists are the top scorers on the Preliminary SAT test among the nation's 1.3 million high school juniors who take it annually.
Shelton was one of three Montanans to receive a corporate-sponsored award. His is $2,500 from BNSF, where his father works as a train master. Ten other Montana students will receive awards from the National Merit Scholarship organization. College-sponsored awards have not been announced yet.
Shelton is quiet, as Donovan described, and doesn't even remember what he scored on the PSAT, but he speaks excitedly about the future. He plans to study film at Montana State University-Bozeman and then hopes to attend film school at New York University.
Even with the award, Shelton said, he will be left paying for about a quarter of his college education. He said he chose Bozeman because it's relatively inexpensive and has a good film department.
"I don't remember ever not loving movies," he said. It's an interest, Shelton said, that began when he was 5 or 6.
He has trouble choosing a favorite movie, but "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Lawrence of Arabia" come to his mind as films he's watched over and over again.
With a bright future ahead of him, Shelton refuses to be nailed down to particulars. He's not sure what genre of film he's interested in, or what aspect of film production. At Bozeman, his plan is to "dabble" as much as possible.
Several other scholarship winners were announced Monday night.
Senior math department award recipient Megan McAlpin won second place in a regional math contest and will receive a scholarship from the Montana Council of Teachers of Mathematics, said math teacher Mary Wagner.
Science department award recipients Eric Moog and Joanna Ulgenes will receive scholarships from the American Chemical Society.