Havre High School’s Savanna Belcourt has always loved science class, especially chemistry. She hopes to attend the University of Montana and study biochemistry. Someday, Savanna hopes, she will be able to provide lab results to help police solve crimes.
“A lot like they do on CSI, ” she said. “I know it sounds cheesey …. ”
She may get a $2,500 scholarship to help with her college plans if she succeeds in winning a National Merit Scholarship. She is the only person from Havre to be named a semifinalist in the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program.
About 16,000 students nationwide were named semifinalists, and most of those will be named finalists.
Savanna said she has to fill out paperwork, get recommendations and write an essay on an event that had an impact on her life.
About half of the finalists get the scholarship.
She is the drum major of the Havre High School band, and playing in the band has been a high point of her high school career.
“The people you meet in band are great, ” she said. “I have made the best friends in band. ”
She plays the flute, piano and saxophone and is learning three other instruments.
The soft-spoken Savanna said she does well in school, but doesn’t have to spend too much time studying.
“It sort of comes natural, ” she said.
Just the same, she said she got “the biggest shock, ” when she found out she had been named a semifinalist.
She always loved science classes, but her love for chemistry has been enhanced by her teacher, Carol Pleninger.
“She’s one of the best, ” Savanna said.
There was more than a month of preview before the tests, which Savanna said helped her to increase her score.
Before deciding on chemistry, she thought of some other career options.
She loved special-effect makeup work.
Her mother is a member of the Havre Jaycees and is active in the haunted house program the service organization puts on every Halloween.
She helped with the makeup and fell in love with the process.
“I just wanted to see what I can make of it, ” she said.
But helping out at crime scenes seemed like it had more career options.