Seven of Douglas High School’s brightest academic stars on Friday signed to exchange their present orange and black colors for the silver and blue of the University of Nevada, Reno.
Students recognized as they signed their official letters of intent to attend Nevada during a ceremony held in the high school media center included National Merit Scholar Finalists Katherine Niday and Elizabeth Phillips along with University of Nevada, Reno Presidential Scholars Andrew Frost, Samuel Frost, and Naiya Phillips.
Nevada Provost Kevin Carman made reference to an atmosphere that was similar to a signing ceremony for athletes. The Douglas students were even presented with white and blue Nevada ball caps.
“You’re like our academic quarterbacks,” Carman said. “Your being there helps us be a better university, so this is a great day for us at the university.”
Two National Merit Scholarship finalists were recognized: Katherine Niday, who plans to major in computer science engineering, and Elizabeth Phillips, whose field of interest is biology and applied music. The two recipients will attend the university on full-ride scholarships.
Five other seniors signed as Nevada Presidential Scholars: brothers Andrew Frost, who plans to major in psychology, and Samuel Frost, civil engineering; Savannah Halow, undeclared; Naiya Phillips (Elizabeth’s sister), biology; and Parker Hoshizaki. The Presidential Scholarship is worth $5,000 per year for four years at the university.
“We have some high-powered students here,” Douglas Principal Marty Swisher said of the signees. “Not only have they taken on the highest rigor our school has to offer, almost all of them have been involved in extracurricular activities, whether speech and debate, drama, music, academic team ... it’s just an incredible group.”
Niday, for example, was a member of a Douglas academic team that was undefeated during its season last fall.
“Katherine is very well rounded in her experiences,” Swisher said of Niday. “She’s done drama, and she did academic team for three years, in addition to her high level of academics. There’s no doubt about it, she’s going to do well in the field she goes into.”
Phillips was the marching band’s drum major and recently put on a performance at the high school’s talent show in which she played Bach Prelude blindfolded. She transferred to Douglas from Colorado for her junior year.
“This is a bigger school — the other band I played in had 20 members and the one here has 60 — but everyone was very accepting which made the adjustment easier,” she said. “It (music) turned into a niche in school.”