IHS student joins select group

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 29, 2008

It will be today when Kathryn Rath finds out if she is this year’s Ironton High School valedictorian. But already she had racked up one of the most significant national honors a high school senior can.

Rath has been named a National Merit Scholarship finalists for this school year. She joins the approximately 8,200 who are designated finalists each year, a ranking based on college entrance exams, academic career and community service.

But Rath isn’t the only family member so honored. Her mother, Deanna Rath, was also named a National Merit finalist when she graduated from Lyon County High School in Eddyville, Ky.

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The younger Rath got the news that she won the top award about a month ago.

“I was very excited,” she said.

The program, begun in 1955, screens about 1.4 million entrants across the country, who first must take the Practice Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) in their junior year. Top scorers then must provide information about their school record and extracurricular activities and write an essay.

Those who pass that segment of the process will take the SAT. The top tier from that test become finalists.

“It is pretty much an honor,” Rath said. “Certain colleges will give you a full ride. I’m not going to one of those.”

Rath plans to enter Bryn Mawr College, outside Philadelphia, in the fall where she will study English literature. Her hopes are to enter the publishing field upon graduation.

“I was interested in a woman’s college,” she said. “I went to visit it twice and I liked it very much. It was a beautiful campus. I am pretty excited. I think it will bring a lot of new experiences that I am looking forward to greatly.”

Besides her strong academic successes, the Ironton High student is a member of the school band playing alto saxophone, the Girl Scouts, and a member of the St. Paul Lutheran Church choir, where she also helps with their Christmas With Dignity program.

“Kathryn is an exceptional student. I think it is wonderful she has accomplished such a wonderful task,” Ironton High principal Joe Rowe said.

“Knowing the

young lady I am not surprised. She does a lot for our school, not only academically. She is such a good young lady. She is not the kind of girl who would go to a social gathering and give this information openly. She is very humble, very soft spoken. She is an important part of our school.”