July 30, 2009
Sixty-three members of the Vanguard class graduated May 30 from Northwest's Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing. It was the largest graduating class in the highly selective school's nine-year history.
The Missouri Academy provides an accelerated, two-year residential program for high school-age students (junior and senior years) academically talented in science, mathematics and technology. During their time at Northwest, Academy students take a demanding series of courses taught by University professors and, upon graduation, receive an associate of science degree and a high school diploma.
Besides being the largest graduating class in Academy history, the Vanguards (each entering class chooses its own name) achieved numerous academic distinctions. The list of 2009 graduates, many of whom plan to continue their education at some of the world's most prestigious universities, includes two National Merit Scholarship Finalists, three National Merit Scholarship Semi-finalists, six National Merit Scholarship Program Commended Students and two National Achievement Scholarship winners. In addition, class members received more than 80 individual scholarships and awards from universities and service organizations.
Northwest's recently retired President Dean L. Hubbard served as this year's graduation speaker during ceremonies at the Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts on the Northwest campus. Hubbard was instrumental in founding the Missouri Academy in 2000 and attended a similar institution for gifted young people while growing up in Oregon.
Prior to the banquet, large screens on either side of the podium displayed quotes by graduates about their experience at the Academy along with the names of the schools they will attend this fall. The list included such academic powerhouses as Stanford, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cornell, Johns Hopkins and Harvard University.
One of just 17 similar programs in the country -- and the only such school in the state -- the Missouri Academy provides a foundational education tailored for highly motivated students with career aspirations in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the so-called STEM fields.
For more information about the Missouri Academy, including how to apply for admission, go to www.nwmissouri.edu/MASMC.