Tabor to welcome two National Merit Scholars this fall

Two National Merit Scholars have enrolled as freshmen at Tabor College for the 2006-07 academic year.

Crystal Prieb, Hesston, and Rachel Unger, Ferndale, Wash., both received the honor and plan to attend Tabor this fall.

The National Merit Scholarship Program, begun in 1955, is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships.

National Merit semi-finalists and finalists are determined by PSAT test scoring. About 8,200 finalists are chosen from 15,000 semi-finalists. The PSAT test is taken during the junior year of high school.

Prieb’s skills in math and computer systems helped her score in the 99th percentile on her PSAT test, which helped her achieve the National Merit honor.

“My favorite class is probably math,” she said. “I like the more technical stuff.”

She also enjoys drawing and painting.

Prieb plans to major in computer science at Tabor. She would possibly like to be a computer animator for Pixar.

Her achievements at Hesston High School include a world championship for Odyssey of the Mind, honorable mention at a scholastic art fair and a three-time winner at HHS for the American Mathematics Competition.

Prieb’s top two choices for higher education were Tabor and Kansas State University.

“I ended up choosing Tabor because of the smaller school size and it was closer (to my family) and my dad went there,” she said.

Unger, a pianist, violinist and student leader, said she chose Tabor for a variety of reasons, including family in the area, a wide variety of programs to glean experience from and the fact that Tabor’s brick buildings and evergreen trees reminded her of home.

None of these reasons, though, is Unger’s main reason for choosing Tabor.

“I chose Tabor because, first and foremost, it is a Christian school and I wanted to go to a school where I could learn about subject areas within the framework of a Christian faith,” she said. “That was something that was really important to me.”

Unger comes from Ferndale High School, where she was valedictorian of a class of 260. Additional awards include the Washington State award for academic excellence, and Advanced Placement test award and an honors award.

At Tabor, Unger plans to be involved in mission work by taking trips and serving with Wichita Urban Ministry Plunge. She said she has a passion for mission and wants to “plug into that” at Tabor.

It is her goal to achieve her secondary math education degree and pursue work in a foreign, Spanish-speaking country.

“I want to have a vocation that enables me to become a part of people’s lives, and then as a result of that interaction and that relationship, be able to share the gospel with them on a relationship level rather than just a gospel message in a stadium type-deal,” she said.

Tabor awards National Merit finalists and semi-finalists a scholarship valued at 100 percent of the previous year’s tuition rate in addition to any other Tabor scholarships or grants.

“Students come to Tabor with many different strengths and gifts,” said Lawrence Ressler, vice president of academics and student development. “We are glad for each one.

“With our vision of being a college of choice for students seeking a life-transforming, academically excellent, globally relevant, and decidedly Christian education, we are especially pleased to have national merit scholars choose Tabor.

“Two in one year is especially great for our size. It illustrates in very concrete terms the reputation Tabor has for academic excellence.”

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