MCHS’s Tuell named National Merit Finalist
By Stephanie Johns
Morgan County High School (MCHS) senior Mitcham Tuell has been named a National Merit finalist as well as earned a spot on the All-state Band. He’s also been named a finalist in the Georgia Institute of Technology President’s Scholarship.
Of approximately 1.5 million entrants nationwide, Tuell was one of the 15,000 semifinalists named a finalist, per the National Merit Scholarship Program at www.nationalmerit.org.
The site noted that winners will be chosen based on their abilities, skills, and accomplishments as documented in the student’s academic record, a recommendation by a high school official, and the student’s essay, to name a few sources.
The 8,300 finalists will be notified beginning in March and continuing through mid-June.
Tuell said he took the Preliminary SAT (SAT) during his freshman, sophomore, and junior years but that only the one taken his junior year counted for this program.
He said he never really prepped for the PSAT either by additional independent studies or by test-prep classes.
“It is a prep all by itself,” he said. He recommended that students take the test seriously. “It’s worked out well for me.”
Tuell said that he hopes to receive scholarship funds, if not from the National Merit program itself then from colleges.
Dr. Jim Malanowski, principal of Morgan County High School, called Tuell a “Renaissance Man.”
“When you have someone as brilliant as him who is also a masterful musician as well as a robotics team member, you know you’ve got a total package,” he shared.
As to being named to the All-State band – again – Tuell said that he has auditioned for this band since seventh grade but it was only last year that he made it to this level. In previous years he made district band.
He said he auditioned with both the alto and baritone saxophone.
On Thursday afternoon he will travel to Savannah for the All-State Band.
According to Jeffrey Rowser, MCHS Band Director, this is the second consecutive year Tuell has earned a place on the band.
“The (Georgia) All-State Band is the most musical group in our state that allows the most gifted and talent(ed) musicians to come together to work in tandem,” he shared. “The audition is quite intense and only the strong survive.”
Rowser added, “Mitcham is one of the most totally gifted students I’ve taught in my career. His creative brilliance is unmatched by most student(s) in our State. He has a great awareness and critical ear for exact pitch and style. He has a very high taste for great quality music.”
For the Georgia Tech President’s Scholarship, Tuell explained that of the 100 finalists only 50 will receive a scholarship that pays between 70 and 100 percent of the cost of attendance while the other 50 will receive nothing.
Tuell said he might study engineering at Tech but noted that he has a couple of years to decide because core classes taken are similar from program to program.
His sister, Sara Lydia Tuell, is studying mechanical engineering there. She has received this scholarship for the second year in a row, he said.
In the next week or two he will travel to Tech to participate in President’s Scholars Weekend. Finalists will take part in a series of interviews, campus tours, and even a dinner with faculty.
Tuell also has applied to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and been deferred early action, which he said was “pretty good in itself” because he was not denied.
He credits his interest in music with allowing him to accomplish so much.
“I’m an avid musician outside of band class,” he said, noting that he writes music as well. “Creating things and problem solving are in music.”
He added that his musical studies put him in the right mindframe.
His mom, Sally Tuell, said that she is “very proud” of both Mitcham and Sara Lydia and their accomplishments.
“They’ve worked very hard to get where they are,” she said. “It takes a lot of focus and dedication.”
Printed in the March 7, 2013 edition