Education

The Richardson Council of PTAs has a general council board meeting scheduled for 9:15-11 a.m. Nov. 1 at Lake Highlands High School, 9449 Church. Refreshments will be available at 9 a.m. The council also hosts a used book fair luncheon Nov. 29 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the professional development center, 701 W. Belt Line.

Four students at Lake Highlands High School have been named National Merit Semifinalists this year: Nathan Bucki, Kenton Cozard, Dallas Crotty and Austin Curnutt. Each year more than 1.5 million high school juniors take the PSAT test to help qualify for college entrance and scholarships. And each year, students who achieve the top 16,000 scores among all test-takers are named National Merit Semifinalists. About half of the semifinalists will receive $2,500 National Merit scholarships, while the scores of the others help them obtain merit scholarships from colleges.

The Exchange Club of Lake Highlands recognized four LHHS seniors in September’s youth of the month and character counts awards. Youth of the month Blake Lueder is eighth in the class, captain of the men’s varsity gymnastics team, Bell Boy and senior class treasurer. In his essay to the club, he emphasized, “Happiness does not come through wealth, but through service.” Dani Austin is the senior service coordinator of National Honor Society (NHS) and the Girls Service League, a member of Mu Alpha Theta and part of the tennis team. She has served at the High Adventure Treks for Dads and Daughters program. In the character counts awards, Emily Barrows is drum major in the band, captain of the Wranglers and a member of NHS. She is described by teachers as always helping others before herself. Jonathan Garza, senior captain of the football team, is noted by teachers as someone who makes people “better for just knowing him.”

Lake Highlands Elementary teacher Maggie Anderson is a finalist for a Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. The recognition is given to teachers whose exceptional and innovative methods make learning more vivid. Anderson is one of only three state finalists in elementary math. This is the highest recognition possible for a math or science teacher in the country. If selected, Anderson will win $10,000, additional staff development opportunities, a presidential citation and trip to Washington, D.C. Anderson is in her seventh year teaching in Richardson ISD. Before LHE, she taught six years at Thurgood Marshall Elementary.

People

LHHS grad Tori Mellinger was on a September front page of the Aggie newspaper, profiled in a story about her rise to star status on the Texas A&M volleyball team. The article, titled “The Hard Way,” notes that Tori first joined the team as a walk-on. Today, she’s a scholarship player and senior co-captain. After a stellar career leading her Wildcats to the 5A regional semifinals, Tori had offers from several schools, but she knew she wanted to play for the Aggies. She took a risk walking on to a team with no scholarship to give her and no guarantee that she’d play. The autumn leaves hadn’t even begun changing color in Aggieland her freshman year before she became a pivotal part of the starting rotation. She’s been a starter ever since, traveling across the country with the team and appearing in nationally televised matches.