Student Achievements: Seven to Celebrate

1. Boys State Representative

Spencer Gray

Rising senior Spencer Gray is the first Dallas International School student to participate in the American Legion Boys State Program, conducted virtually this year because of the pandemic. “I can only imagine how thrilling it must be in person,” Gray said. The American Legion, founded after World War I by U.S. veterans, has sponsored the program since the 1930s. During the program, he networked with other students, first getting selected as a campaign manager and later elected as a railroad commissioner, one of three from 350 delegates.

2. Learning Hindi Online

Josh Mysore

COVID-19 cancelled Josh Mysore’s seven-week summer trip to Pune, India but not his intensive study of Hindi. The rising St. Mark’s School of Texas senior instead participated in a five weeks of online language and cultural learning connecting virtually with residents of places where Hindi is spoken. The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs awarded 2020-21 National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) scholarships to about 500 students to study Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Persian, Russian, or Turkish.

3. Presidential Scholars

Sohum Kulkarni, Dallas, and Ryan McCord, of Highland Park, were named 2020 U.S. Presidential Scholars, two of 161 outstanding American high school seniors so honored for academic success and other achievements plus community service and leadership. Kulkarni, a Parish Episcopal School co-salutatorian, named as his most influential teacher Jenn Makins for STEM/Engineering. McCord, a 2020 graduate of St. Mark’s School of Texas, identified his as Scott Hunt for photography.

Sohum Kulkarni and Ryan McCord

4. Hockaday girl a DART Art winner

Amber Li, who just finished the ninth grade at the Hockaday School, won best in show and a $1,000 cash prize in Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s (DART) annual student art contest. Her work, based on the theme “PAINT THE TOWN _______. RIDE DART” and selected from 1,174 entries by students in kindergarten through 12th grade, went on the side of a DART bus. Visit to see other winning entries. The DART Student Art Contest, a 22-year tradition, promotes public transportation use. 

5. Troop 80 Scouts with Masks

Scout William Trotman and Scoutmaster Doug Trotman present masks made by Troop 80 members and their families to a Dallas VA Medical Center team member. The troop, sponsored by Highland Park Presbyterian Church and supported by St Michael and All Angels Church, made about 100 masks for the staffs at University of Texas Southwestern and Dallas VA medical centers.

6. Troop 815 Scouts at Notre Dame

Boy Scout Troop 815, based out of Trinity Christian Academy, spent 14 months tackling Eagle Scout projects at the Notre Dame School of Dallas, which serves 160 students with developmental disabilities. The Scouts power washed entrances, landscaped, built five-wooden benches for two playgrounds, installed outdoor instruments and a climbing wall, and replaced the sand, fence, and gate for the primary playground. FRONT, FROM LEFT: Samuel Rodriguez, Maddox Murphy, Jad Sewaiseh, and Collin Mayo. BACK: Mayo’s younger brother, Sawyer, helped the Scouts.

7. T.J. Grads Take Fairway to Success

Thomas Jefferson High School 2020 graduates Marcela Landin, Marysol Ortega, and Josue Rosa each received $20,000 in Deloitte/NTPGA Fairway to Success scholarships. Landin is headed to Albion College in Michigan, Ortega to The University of North Texas, and Rosa to Texas A&M University. Fairway to Success, established in 2007 and working with three Dallas ISD high school, introduces students to golf and the life lessons of discipline, honor, and integrity. It awards college scholarships based on academic performance, extracurricular activities, community involvement, and financial need. 

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