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El Dorado grad named National Merit Scholar

by Caitlan Butler | June 7, 2023 at 12:00 a.m.
JR Stipp-Bethune, pictured here speaking during El Dorado High School's graduation ceremony on May 22, was selected as a 2023 National Merit Finalist. (Courtesy of Taylon Steele/Special to the News-Times)

A 2023 graduate of El Dorado High School has been named a National Merit Scholar.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced today that JR Stipp-Bethune, salutatorian of the Class of 2023, has been selected as a National Merit Scholar. He is one of 71 students in Arkansas who earned the honor.

"As principal, to have an EHS graduate sit comfortably among the 70 recent high school graduates in Arkansas who received the National Merit Scholarship is very gratifying and a resounding endorsement for the content and rigor of our curriculum," said EHS Principal Sherry Hill. "I am beyond excited that JR Stipp-Bethune was selected a national Merit Scholar."

Stipp-Bethune will receive a National Merit Oklahoma State University Scholarship, and he is expected to study secondary education. He told members of the El Dorado School Board in March that he'd already received some scholarships from OSU for being a National Merit Finalist.

"I am proud of JR Stipp-Bethune for receiving the National Merit Oklahoma State University Scholarship. This is a grand achievement by JR and the El Dorado School District is extremely happy that he is receiving this recognition and scholarship," said El Dorado Schools Superintendent Jim Tucker in an email. "JR is an outstanding young man and is going to do very well at OSU!"

Robert Boerwinkle, another El Dorado resident who finished high school at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts, is also a National Merit Scholar. He will be awarded the National Merit Missouri University of Science and Technology Scholarship to study computer science.

According to a press release from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), U.S. colleges and universities selected their scholarship winners from among National Merit Finalists. Additional National Merit Scholars will be announced in July.

Kieran Obiozo, valedictorian of EHS's Class of 2023, was also a National Merit Finalist this year. He will attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study bio-chemistry.

Stipp-Bethune was a member of the Quiz Bowl and Chess teams during his time at EHS.

"(JR) is a well-rounded student who found time to focus on academics as well as activities. He has well-thought out plans for college and I expect he will be successful in all that he attempts," Hill said.

According to the NMSC, 15,000 National Merit Finalists were selected this year, and about half will be Merit Scholarship winners this year.

Print Headline: El Dorado grad named National Merit Scholar


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