MSA 2021

Two Poplar Bluff sophomores named Missouri Scholars
Posted on 04/13/2021
Mariah DeShaney and Emmalein Pendley

Poplar Bluff High School had both of its allotted student nominees accepted into the 2021 Missouri Scholars Academy—a rarity—according to counselor Dr. Regina Williams.

Mariah DeShaney and Emmalein Pendley will participate in the virtual MSA in June among 330 of the state’s academically gifted sophomores. Administered by the University of Missouri Honors College, the program’s selection process is based on grade point average, ACT scores, student essays and letters of recommendation.

In addition to each maintaining an 11.429 out of 11.0 GPA, Emmalein and Mariah are active in athletics, band, various academic clubs and their community, according to faculty.

“Emmalein does not simply memorize the facts that are presented to her, she wants to understand the reasons behind them,” wrote Jessica Girtman, PBHS science teacher. Girtman provided an example of how, during a chemistry class simulation, Emmalein was the only student out of 70 who had noticed that data collected did not match the predicted values and inquired why.

English teacher Jennie Randolph recalled holding a class discussion about making improvements at the High School. While some students focused on changing the school lunch menu, Emmalein worked toward finding a solution to the amount of paper waste being thrown away in the cafeteria.

“Mariah is a lifelong learner whose exceptional academic skills, creativity, dedication and passion for learning have allowed her to excel academically and will continue to benefit her in future endeavors,” communication arts teacher Stephen Patty wrote. He went on to note that she has raised thought-provoking questions and ideas “in ways that had never occurred to me.”

Mariah’s math teacher, Hope Conover, added: “I witnessed her assisting her peers with concepts they didn’t understand by explaining information in a manner that is knowledgeable but not condescending; engaging peers in thoughtful, meaningful dialogue; and conducting herself in a respectful, considerate manner.”

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