Joliet West student receives major award


Matt Verive poses with Dr. Gibson after receiving his award.

Estefania Unzueta, contributing writer

On Tuesday October 1, 2013, Dr. Teresa Gibson of Joliet West High School made a very special announcement; Matthew Verive, a talented JWHS senior, was named the Commended Student of the National Merit Scholarship Program (NMSP). Each year, educators from about 22,000 high schools provide the opportunity for their students to be involved in NMSP. “I’m thrilled that I received this honor. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting this in the slightest – when the announcement came over the intercom, I just looked at the speaker in confusion!” Verive commented.

Presently, there are over 1.5 million students entered in the NMSP. Out of those 1.5 million students, 34,000 are being commended throughout the nation.  Commended students do not continue in the 2014 competition, but get recognized for their academic ability. Commended Students
placed in the top five percent out of the 1.5 million students who entered.

A spokesperson from NMSC( National Merit Scholarship  Corporation) stated, “ The young men and women being named Commended Students have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success, these students represent a valuable national resource; recognizing their accomplishments, as well as the key role their schools play in their academic development, is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation. We hope that this recognition will help broaden their educational opportunities and encourage them as they continue their pursuit in academic success.”

Dr. Gibson commented on Matthew’s success, “Students that enroll in AP honor classes and put effort into their academics, are often prepared for these kind of things. Matt prepared and studied based on the classes he selected.”

Matthew had some advice to give students, “Don’t blow off the PSAT, but don’t overstress either. My strategies for tests like this are to keep a good pace of test prep for about a month leading up to the exam. I did a few practice questions each Saturday, each week doing a few more, so that the full test wouldn’t seem overwhelming.” Verive also wanted to thank a couple of his teachers, “Probably the most preparation I got for the PSAT was through Mr. Eleveld’s practice ACTs, so I thank him for starting those so early. In addition, thank you to Mr. DeBoer for showing me
that not overstressing helps to keep your mind clear.”

There are three categories that participants qualify for recognition; Commended Students, Semifinalists, and Finalists. There was a student before Matthew that also was recognized by NSMP. Michelle Lega, was named a finalist by NSMP in February 2011. When asked what motivates him to be such a good student, Verive says, “My best motivation is simply a quest for knowledge. The purpose of school is to learn, so instead of dragging yourself through the school day, why not make the best of it? Actually pay attention in class instead of texting, sleeping, or doing anything else. It really helps to cut down on needed study time and brings test grades up dramatically.”

Matthew Verive’s quest for knowledge isn’t over, he has greater plans for after high school. “If I get accepted, I’m looking at attending either DePaul University or Illinois State University in fall 2014 for Web Administration. My dream job is to be a webmaster, which I’m already doing in my free time.”