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Two RHS seniors named to academic all-state teams

By Staff | Mar 6, 2020

Sue Sitter/PCT Rugby High seniors Trenton Sanford (left) and Melody Johnson earned spots on the Class B North Dakota Academic All-State teams for 2020.

Two Rugby High School seniors will receive honors for academic excellence on a live television broadcast of the North Dakota State Class B Boys Basketball Tournament in Bismarck March 20.

Melody Johnson and Trenton Sanford will be recognized for earning spots on the 2020 North Dakota Academic All-State teams.

The teams were assembled and sponsored by the North Dakota Association of Secondary School Principals, broadcasters WDAY, WDAZ, KBMY, KMCY and Forum Communications Companies.

The academic teams were formed along the lines of high school sports teams, with separate divisions for Class A and Class B schools.

Each school principal was invited to nominate a number of students to the academic team based on his or her school’s student population.

Rugby High Principal Jared Blikre nominated two students, each of whom placed on a team.

“There are different levels of awards,” explained Johnson, who placed on the Class B Gold Team. “We got nominated by our principal, Mr. Blikre. He nominated the two of us and we both sent in applications and a committee went through the applications.”

Teams were divided into gold, silver, bronze and honorable mention distinctions.

Sanford, who placed on the Class B Silver Team, said, “The gold team is the top 10 group of students, the highest rank based off either ACT or SAT and grade point average, and then the silver team is for the next 10, so 11-20 and the bronze team would be 21st through 30th, and so on.”

Both students secured spots on their teams not only for GPA and test scores, but extracurricular activities as well.

“I’m in speech, FBLA, CYO, National Honor Society, cross country, Academic Olympics, Math Track and band. I also work part time at Dairy Queen,” Sanford said, counting all his activities.

“I’m in One Act Play competition, speech, choir, Science Olympiad, Math Track, National Honor Society and I also have a part-time job at the clinic pharmacy here in town,” Johnson said.

Both students already have plans in place to further their education and pursue careers in sciences.

“I actually have a pretty outlined set of goals for my future,” Johnson noted. “I’ve always had this vision in my head of being one of those people who are going to change the world, maybe not in a very big way but in my own little way. So, I’m very deeply interested in sciences, especially the chemistry and physical aspects of it.”

Johnson added, “I’m going to NDSU to study chemical engineering. With that degree, I’m going to specialize in plastics and polymers. With that, I can maybe do some research on how to make different materials that are more environmentally friendly so we can help reduce the big problems of pollution and climate change here. That’s kind of my vision for my future.”

Sanford said of his plans, “I’m also planning on attending NDSU to study computer science maybe or programming. For my future, I’m interested in game development.”

“My dream, of course, is to go and make my own video game, compose the music, write the story and everything. As a backup, just being a computer programmer and living in Fargo is pretty lucrative,” Sanford added.

Johnson said she is also excited to be named a finalist for the National Merit Scholar Award.

Johnson said, “When we took the Pre SAT the junior year, that’s a qualifying test for the national merit program. I got a high enough test score that was in the top one percent of the (scores by) people who took the test in North Dakota.”

“Because I was in that top one percent, I could send in an application to become a national merit scholar finalist,” Johnson said, adding, “At that point, I was considered a semifinalist. So, I took the SAT and ACT and sent my scores to the National Merit Scholarship Committee. I also sent my resume, descriptions of my extracurricular activities and my GPA – the standard stuff. Just recently, they released the National Merit Scholarship finalists.”

“They chose 16,000 semifinalists across the nation. Out of 16,000 semifinalists, I became a finalist,” Johnson added. “At NDSU, they actually offer a scholarship to National Merit Scholarship finalists, so I’m looking forward to that.”

Johnson said of her academic recognition and National Merit Scholar Award status, “For me, it kind of reaffirms my self worth, you can say. It definitely shows me that I’m good in at least one thing in life; that my talent is academics and maybe, I think this really helps put into context for me what I’ve done. Because I tend to not think of it as significant, all the things that I’ve done throughout my high school career.”

“But receiving an award like this really kind of makes me feel good about all the hard work I’ve put in to get where I am,” Johnson added.

Sanford said he was also grateful for his recognition for academic achievements.

“I’m hopeful for the future, he said. I’m hopeful that this experience, as well as all the others I’ve had in my high school years will help prepare me for college and then my life afterwards.”

In a written statement, Blikre said of his two nominees, “It has been an honor to have Melody and Trenton as students at Rugby High School. Melody and Trenton are talented students with charisma, confidence, determination, and strong values. They are astute, proactive, and driven to succeed in their academic endeavors. I am very excited to see what the future holds for them!”

Sanford is the son of Bryan and Veronica Beaver and Johnson is the daughter of Trampes and Kerri Johnson.

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