Douglas senior is National Merit Scholarship finalist |

Douglas senior is National Merit Scholarship finalist

Lorna McDaniel

Enjoying school and hard work contributed to Tyler Valiquette’s position as one of the 14,000 finalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program out of a million entrants.

The 17-year-old, who has attended Douglas High since the beginning of the year, doesn’t have a favorite subject.

“I like everything,” he said. “I enjoy school a lot.”

He’s taking advanced placement calculus, government and English. He also takes humanities and weight lifting to fill out his day.

He said he enjoys working out and says, “It is important to keep myself in peak performance in both (academics and physical) areas.”

Douglas High School counselor Theresa Cordova said, “Despite a heavy academic and extra-curricular load, Tyler shows his concern for other by tutoring first graders, assisting flood victims and worked in a soup kitchen last winter.”

To become a semifinalist in the 1997 scholarship program, he had get the highest scores on the 1995 PSAT of graduating seniors in each state.

Valiquette said he ranked in the 99th percentile in the nation, scoring better than 99 out of 100 college-bound juniors.

He said working hard is just a matter of habit.

“I’ve always worked hard, so I continue to work hard,” he said. “The future holds a lot. The harder I work, the more I’ll get out of it.”

He also credits the support of his family and some of his teachers for his successes.

“I lucked out in the gene pool,” he said of of his teacher mom and corporate manager dad.

He names his favorite instructor as Dr. Phyllis Bateman.

“She’s very bright,” he said. “She gets very excited about what she is doing and really knows what she is talking about.”

Bateman teaches English and humanities.

Bateman has the same respect for Valiquette writing this recommendation:

“Tyler is focused, intent and has optimistic qualities much admired by faculty and peers.”

Valiquette is still waiting to find out if he will receive one of 2,000 $2,000 National Merit scholarships.

He also has a chance at 1,100 corporate- and 3,900 college-sponsored scholarships through the National Merit program.

The program bases its winners on a combination of the PSAT and SAT1 scores, the student’s self-description and the recommendation of a school official.

He scored better than 96 college-bound seniors nation-wide on his verbal portion of the SAT1 and better than 77 on the math section.

His self-description essay is colorful to reflect his personality.

“I tried to be as creative as I could,” he said, “operating on the idea of a kaleidoscope.

“As the colors spin, I pick a color out and associate it with something in my life.”

He wrote as the conclusion to his essay, “I gaze down the old, tarnished copper shaft of the kaleidoscope. Its colors swirl and twirl, blend together and separate again. In these moving colors I see my life. Each color is an integral part of my personality, and each experience contributes to who I am. I realize that there is much yet to be done and many colors yet to add. As the colors continue to spin, I grin and enjoy them as they pass.”

Valiquette has applied at the universities of Washington, Idaho and Nevada, Reno.

He said he will probably study mechanical engineering, and aspires to get a master’s degree in international business.

Beyond school, he aims to “get a good job that pays well that I enjoy, travel a lot, marry a good woman and reach self-actualization.”

He doesn’t have a woman in mind yet but he will be traveling Europe this summer after graduation.