Two exceptional students |

Two exceptional students

Cindy Ramunno
Preston Utley/Vail DailyRiley Pack of Battle Mountain.

It’s really, really hard to become a National Merit Scholarship finalist. After every student (1.3 million nationwide) takes the pre-SAT, and then after a lengthy process of elimination, only 15,000 semi-finalists remain. Senior Zach Henry of Eagle Valley and Riley Pack of Battle Mountain were nominated as finalists for the program.

The program started in 1955, and finalists are up for about 8,200 Merit Scholarship awards worth a total of $33 million.

“It’s hard to complain about the free ride,” says Henry. “I feel really lucky to have been nominated.” Pack also considered the nomination a bonus. “To say the least, I was pleasantly surprised.”

These seniors do more than study. Henry has been on EVHS’s alpine ski team and plays guitar for the metal band ‘Volition.’ The band has played numerous gigs around the state and other members are also EVHS students. Henry will study computer science or mathematics at Arizona State, University of Tulsa or University of Arizona.

“Zach is a student that kept me on my toes in calculus,” says math teacher Cliff Zehring, who adds that Zach showed him how to solve some problems during his class. “Zach’s a hard-working and deserving student of this award,” says Zehring.

“Riley has an awesome attitude and is very humble ” he will do great things in life,” says teacher Tom Kirk. Pack also skied for his school, along with running cross country and track, playing in the band and being a member of FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America).

After much deliberation, Pack has decided he will attend classes at the University of Colorado at Boulder to pursue a degree in aerospace engineering.

Vail Colorado

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