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Kimberly Stutzman named merit scholar semifinalist

Kimberly Stutzman got a pleasant surprise Monday when she found out that she had been named a National Merit Scholar semifinalist.

Stutzman, a senior at Westview Jr.-Sr. High School, said that she and a few of her friends had decided to try for the merit scholarship last year when they took the PSAT, and she didn’t expect to reach the semifinalist level. The next step is to complete the application for the finalist level, along with submitting SAT scores. Finalists will be announced January 30, 2014.

The National Merit Scholarship program is an academic competition that uses the PSAT to screen around 1.5 million entrants each year. Of those, only around 16,000 are selected as semifinalist.

Stutzman is the daughter of Michael and Kristine Stutzman of Shipshewana and is the oldest of their five children. Although she doesn’t have a college picked out, she does plan to attend one and is looking getting a degree in elementary education. “I like working with younger children,” she said, adding that being the oldest in the family has a lot to do with that.

She is also participating in the school’s cadet teaching program, spending an hour at an elementary school each day, working with students. She is working with third graders, including the class her younger sister, Emily, is in.

Stutzman describes herself as a “pretty good” student, taking AP and dual credit classes. “The classes aren’t that hard,” she admitted, but admits the real challenge is to find the balance to be able to get everything done.

“She is a tremendously hard worker,” Westview Principal Rich Cory said. “She has the best work ethic and does everything right.” Cory added Stutzman is very focused, and has always been that way since starting high school.

Cory sees her interest in going into education as a great example for younger kids. Wherever she may end up teaching, Cory said, “She’ll make it a better place and make the people around her better, too.”

Along with being a cadet teacher, Stutzman is involved in the school’s show choir and musicals. She is a National Honor Society member, as well as a member of the National Art Honor Society at Westview. She also works with her family at the Davis Mercantile in Shipshewana.