Archive for Thursday, September 6, 2001

MVHS senior earns As at Duke

September 6, 2001

Elizabeth "Betsy" Clarke isn't your typical teenage girl and she didn't have a typical summer. This Mill Valley High School senior spent her summer break studying at Duke University, Durham, N.C. in a pre-college program designed for gifted students.

"Since the seventh-grade, each summer I have attended a college over break," Clarke said.

Clarke was admitted to the Duke program based on specific eligibility requirements. As a member of the Duke University Talent Identification Program for academically gifted students, she has had the opportunity to study with other students matching her scholastic abilities.

Other summer course locations for Clarke have included Kansas University and Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. Each year she has qualified for scholarships of almost $2,000.

The six-week trip to Durham meant Clarke had to meet some rigorous requirements. The highly selective process entailed Clarke writing two essays, submitting a school recommendation with her ACT scores and official high school transcript. She also had to complete a resume, listing all relevant experience to her academic career.

Clarke discovered within a few weeks that she had not only been admitted, but also was awarded a scholarship of close to $5,000, allowing her to take two college credits while there. She studied psychology and drama and received As in both.

Clarke first took the ACT test in seventh grade, where she earned an 18 on the mathematics section, which qualified her for the Talent Identification Program. As a high school junior, she took the test again and received a 28 cumulative score. She said she plans to take the test one more time before she applies for college.

Elizabeth's achievement came as no surprise to her parents, Charles and Judith Clarke. They said immediately after their daughter returned from her trip she was headed back to school for several practices in various activities.

When Clarke isn't studying or test taking, she enjoys dancing, painting and drawing; but she admits that isn't very often. "I just don't have a lot of free time, " she said.

One of Elizabeth's favorite activities at the high school is her participation in the theater program. As vice president of the Thespian Club she has been busy this semester with productions. She also participates in the Silver Stars Dance Team, Madrigals, Spanish Club and several academic clubs.

Clarke is currently taking three college level courses at the high school. She will likely have a difficult decision to make where to go. She said her choices will include New York University, Yale School of Drama, Duke or an area college.

"I might just want to stay around here to be close to my family," Clarke said.

Clarke said after college she might want to work or own a theater company in New York or North Carolina.

But for now, Clarke is just determined to complete her final year of high school and consider enrollment to some of the finest schools in the country.

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