Henry Burton named National Merit semifinalist

Henry Burton was corralled in the hallway Tuesday by Leadership teacher Bob Kadell with yet another task: to announce that day’s Hood River Valley High School soccer playoff game.

It was further proof that the HRVHS senior is goal-oriented, along with a certain academic honor announced last month: Burton was named a National Merit Scholar semi-finalist along with 15,000 other U.S. high school students. Burton is the sixth semi-finalist from HRVHS in five years. Two years ago his brother, Oliver, also made semi-finalist.

“I do try to keep up,” Henry said with a smile Tuesday. “We’re both pretty motivated.”

Henry received the honor as the result of his score on the PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitute Test). This score placed him in the top fifth of those Oregon students who participated in the National Merit Program.

“I was pretty pleased, but I wasn’t that surprised. I knew I’d done pretty well on the test. I was pretty happy,” said Henry, who credited “a lot of great teachers” at HRVHS, along with the home schooling he received through grade five.

“I really got the best of both worlds in my education,” said Henry. “Being home schooled I learned to be self-motivated and work at my own pace, and in public schools I learned about working in group situations.”

Henry and the other semi-finalists will compete for 8,000 Merit Scholarship awards, to be presented in February 2004. Burton wrote a self-describing essay and provided a principal’s recommendation.

“Henry is not only academically talented, but he is highly involved in his school and community as well,” said Martha Capovilla, co-principal at HRVHS.

Burton is currently ASB Vice President and has also been a member of the Site Council. In his work on the council, Burton said he was proud of his contribution to the school’s new policy for selecting one or two class valedictorians, based on academic rigor.

HRVHS seniors Elsie Denton and Luke Webb were named Commended Merit Scholars, according to Capovilla.

“The staff and students of Hood River Valley High School are very excited to have three HRVHS students make it so far in the National Merit Program,” Capovilla said.

Burton also serves on the Hood River City Youth Advisory Council. He has also been a dedicated member of the HRVHS Swim Team since his freshman year.

Though Burton has made his own mark at HRVHS, he is the second member of his family to achieve semi-finalist status, following his brother, Oliver, who is now a sophomore at Williams College, in Massachusetts. Henry plans to apply to Williams, along with Harvard, Yale, and Deep Springs College in California.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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