2006 Sonlight Curriculum Scholarship Winners

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Seventh Annual Scholarship Competition

The Sonlight Scholarship Committee is pleased to announce the winners of the 2006 Sonlight Curriculum College Scholarship Competition. All eight winners will be awarded four-year college scholarships to fund their attendance at the colleges of their choice.

Homeschooling Works! Meet Some Sonlight Scholarship Winners ...

Before homeschooling, parents commonly ask, "How do I know it's going to work?" and, "How can I make sure my children will be prepared for college?" While our scholarship winners won't provide answers to your specific situation, year after year all of our applicants offer convincing evidence that Sonlight Curriculum has high standards. And it works. Each scholarship winner in this representative one-year sample used a minimum of four Sonlight History / Bible / Literature programs; one student used seven History / Bible / Literature programs during his education. Consider their exceptional achievements:

  • An average SAT score of 2180, including a score of 2290 (out of 2400).
  • Three perfect (800) and one near-perfect (790) Critical Reading score, a near-perfect Math score (790), and a near-perfect Writing (780) score on the SATs.
  • One perfect score of 36 and one near-perfect score of 35 (out of 36) in the Reading portion, and a near-perfect score of 35 in the Science portion of the SAT exam.
  • A score of 5 (out of 5) on the Advanced Placement History exam, and two scores of 5 on the Advanced Placement English Language exam.
  • Commended Student and 3 Semi-Finalists in National Merit Program.
  • Two pianists, an award-winning debater, a therapist for an autistic child, a Gold Congressional Award winner, a theatre performer, Tsunami disaster volunteer, and several overseas mission participants.

And this is just a brief list of these scholars' accomplishments!

These students plan to attend college at such prestigious institutions as Georgetown University, University of North Carolina, University of Idaho, Bryan College, Wheaton College, Seattle Pacific University, and Rosedale Bible College.

All eight of the winners excel academically. But probably more impressive is their collective spiritual maturity and the many interesting experiences they report. We've included a number of direct quotes from the winners' scholarship application packages that we hope will give you greater insight into the hearts and minds of these promising individuals.

$5000, 4-Year Scholarship ($20,000 total)

Mary E. Stonecypher Mary E. Stonecypher of West Columbia, South Carolina won this year's $5000 scholarship. A National Merit Scholarship Program Semi-Finalist, she plans to study pre-medicine, English, and French in college.

Mary demonstrated her compassion and heart to serve others in several ways. Mary assisted medical personnel in the emergency room at a local hospital. Her participation in the Partners Program, a merit-based internship, convinced her to pursue a career in the medical community because of its potential for ministry. She also volunteered as a counselor at Camp Joy, a week-long camp for for mentally disabled adults.

Mary took college classes in composition and literature at Columbia College her junior year. Charles Israel, Ph.D., her professor for the courses at Columbia College writes:

In my 43 years of teaching college writing and literature, I have taught very few students who are her equal in intellectual ability, writing talent, and critical thinking skills. To be specific, in academic and intellectual skills, I place her in the top one percent of thousands of students I have taught over the years.

Mary's also has an interest in political leadership. Her ambition to hold office was fueled after she participated in Teen Pact, a Christian student government conference, and Palmetto Girls State, a leadership program sponsored by the American Legion. Of her future career plans, Mary says:

I believe that the mercy, humility, and wisdom that are necessary for success in all aspects of life, including politics and medicine, will come through a maturing relationship with Christ.

Mary has applied to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, University of South Carolina Honors College, Winthrop University (Rock Hill, SC), Furman University (Greenville, SC), Yale University, and Columbia College (Columbia, SC).

$2500, 4-Year Scholarship ($10,000 total)

Matthew J. Duggan Matthew J. Duggan of Matthews, North Carolina won one of this year's $2500 scholarships. A National Merit Scholarship Program Semi-Finalist, Matthew intends to major in biology at Wheaton college and to later attend medical school to study pediatric medicine.

Matthew volunteers as a soccer coach at his YMCA, serves as a leader of his Youth Group Worship Team, and helps create productions for Kidstuf, a children's theatrical ministry. For the last 3 years, Matthew has worked with children as an AWANA Cubbies (children age 3-5) leader at the Church at Charlotte. Solana Pearce, Director of the Cubbies program, says:

I found Matthew to be a responsible, caring, and dedicated young man. He is very dependable, attended almost every week, and let me know in advance if he was unable to attend. I only wish I could get my adult volunteers to do the same! Additionally, Matthew was always flexible, able to step in when others were not available. He has a remarkable way with children, and my Cubbies love him.

Matthew's two missions-related trips, one to Costa Rica, and one to Lima, Peru, have had a significant impact on his future plans. He writes:

I saw mission opportunities in abundance, and God implanted in me a desire to pursue missions work. Sometimes I just feel like yelling, "God stop showing me how much I could do for you! I would rather just have my comfortable life here."

But I know that I can not just turn my back on the world's huge need for God. It would be much easier to settle down in America, make money, and enjoy all that we have here. Instead, I hope to be able to go into missions work someday. I do not think that I could sit back and simply watch the work being done around the world.

Matthew has applied to Wheaton College, Rice University, and Baylor University.

$1000, 4-Year Scholarship ($4,000 total)

Mary Katherine Qualls Mary Katherine Qualls of Moscow, Idaho uses the arts to express her love and obedience to God. A National Merit Scholarship Program Semi-Finalist and accomplished musician, she desires to one day give Christian children and teenagers in her community the ability to pursue the arts in an encouraging and challenging environment that is centered around Lord Jesus Christ.

Mary Katherine's love of music started the moment her parents provided her and her siblings with piano lessons. With diligent practice she soon mastered the instrument and eventually won Silver and Gold medals at the prestigious MusicFest Northwest competitions.

She studies piano and voice under Professors of Music at the University of Idaho, participates in choir, acts in theatre, teaches piano lessons to children, and volunteers for the University of Idaho Music Camp.

As Paula Bauer notes, Mary Katherine's gifts go far beyond acting on stage:

Mary Katherine has participated in a number of community productions, among them "Little Women." "Bye Bye Birdie," "Pinocchio," and a few amateur co-op productions. She certainly has a flair for drama. This is evident in her writing, in her poetry, in her conversations, and of course, on the stage. However, she is quite willing to do the hard, often thankless behind-the-scenes work and does not just hunger for the spotlight. This past summer she invested extensive hours into a co-op performance of "A Comedy of Errors."

This was an enormous undertaking, as the script had to be edited and re-written to fit the limited number of actors participating. This task fell primarily upon Mary Katherine, and she did a remarkable job of adapting the play while preserving the spirit and language of the story line and plot devices. Co-directing the play required yet a different set of skills, as she labored to bring out the various characters from an inexperienced and sometimes distracted cast. Yet all of this was done with a cheerful and friendly disposition.

Mary Katherine will attend the University of Idaho in the fall and double major in Creative Writing and Music Education. She then plans to attend graduate school and found an Academy of the Arts. She writes:

In my town, there is no way for children to learn the arts in a Christian environment. I desire to create such a place. I am passionate about bringing this opportunity to children because I am one of seven children whose parents expended hours of time and energy to ensure that the arts were a crucial component of our homeschool education.

Hallee M. Palmer Halle M. Palmer of Westerville, Ohio discovered her heart for the spiritual needs of people in Asian countries through several trips to countries in the region.

When her family adopted her little sister from China, she saw some of the poverty and religious oppression the Chinese live with daily. She also took a short-term missions trip to Cambodia where she taught English classes and Bible lessons.

For 3 summers Hallee served as a summer missionary in the Child Evangelism Fellowship program, taught CEF 5-Day Clubs, and served in other evangelistic children's ministries. Dan Prouty, Director of the Monroe Area CEF, writes:

She was instrumental in sharing Christ with hundreds of kids and helped lead many to Christ. From the very beginning I could see that she was dependable and conscientious. She did her very best to master all she was asked to learn and excelled in the classroom and with the clubs. In addition to being a good and thorough teacher, she also demonstrated a maturity that was far beyond what is normal for Christian girls her age. I came to rely on her to shepherd other new or weak summer missionaries.

Hallee currently plans to attend Indiana Wesleyan University or Cedarville University since both give her the ability to major in Mathematics Education with a minor in Bible or Cross Cultural Mission.

Hallee assures us God has used all of these experiences, including her choice of colleges, to prepare her. She says:

Besides having the right majors and minors, both universities also have many many different ways for me to grow spiritually and get involved with missions. They send out missions teams every school break so I will be able to go abroad and serve, and they both have the option of spending a semester in a Chinese school. Since working with CEF, adopting, moving and going to Cambodia, God has shown me the need for missionaries to children in Asian countries.

Andrea L. Gingerich Andrea L. Gingerich of West Jefferson, Ohio shares her love of the Lord through her passion for music, writing, and other cultures, and her desire to be a wife and mother. She writes:

And so these are the desires that God has given me. I believe that they can be used to further His purposes. I can use music and song writing to bless the church. I can show God to people through the analogies in my books. With God's help I can turn my love of cultures into love for the people of those cultures. I can be a godly mother and raise a family that honors Christ. And maybe there are ways He will use my gifts that I haven't even thought of yet!

A National Merit Scholarship Program Commended Student and member of the Youth Philharmonic of Central Ohio, she plans to attend Rosedale Bible College for the first one or two years of school and eventually receive her degree in English. She would like to use her talent to better direct her passion for writing and use it more skillfully for God's Kingdom.

Carolyn D. Candland Carolyn D. Candland of Pembroke Pines, Florida exemplifies what it means to have a heart for service. This young veteran of four mission trips also volunteers as a Teen Advisor for the Hope Pregnancy Center. She has presented God's truth for purity and abstinence to approximately 2,000 students in public and private high schools and church youth groups.

Carolyn's work with an four-year-old autistic child started her on the path to discover God's plan for her life. On her own initiative, in order to provide the best care possible, she studied additional research and analysis on the treatment of autism. She also attended Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Music Therapy and Autism Preschool with the boy to better learn how to serve him.

Eva Lorusso, the mother of the autistic boy describes Carolyn's desire and commitment to working with her son over the past year:

This young lady spent many days working alongside a Certified Behavior Analyst learning how to teach my son. Several individuals trained with our Analyst to work with Donny, but Carolyn surpassed them all in learning the concepts and applying them during therapy.

Carolyn shows unsurpassed dedication to what she is called to do. She has been bitten several times, her hair has been pulled and she has been pinched numerous times. Professional therapists without such a dedication may very well decide not to treat a child who has shown such behaviors, but not this young lady. Amazingly, Carolyn comes back the next day to work with new ideas as to how to help Donny control his emotions. No matter what happens throughout the therapy session, she always treats him with love and respect.

Carolyn shares the prayerful reflection behind her plans to study psychology at Bryan College in September, 2006:

What first drew me to Bryan College was its commitment to integrating Biblical principle with all facets of life, applying the subject matter to the Bible. Because I plan to study psychology, a Christ-first stance is non-negotiable with my educational goal to become better equipped as a servant of Christ — Byran College has the same goal for its students. God, as the author of knowledge, is the One I wish to consult on matters of the mind and its healing. During my college search it was eye-opening to realize that a school truly dedicated to this principle is a rarity.

Taryn N. Clark Taryn N. Clark of North Bend, Washington is teacher, athlete, soccer referee, drama performer, and an award-winning debater.

As a teacher, she has volunteered at AWANA for six years and has taught a literature-based U.S. History course for middle school children with two other high school students. (The students read historical fiction books that she discovered while using Sonlight).

A National Merit Scholarship Program Commended Student and AP Scholar with Distinction, Taryn also participates in drama with her local theatre troupe. As a result she has learned about characterization, how to use the stage, vocal techniques, and more. She has modified, produced and directed a series of three skits for AWANA, and is currently stage manager for a new work musical produced by Theatre 'Round the Bend.

Taryn has focused a significant amount of her energy in competitive speech and debate and has placed first or second with partner at National Open and regional debate tournaments. Homeschooling has given her the flexibility to spend 20 plus hours a week on debate and develop a level of expertise that is hard to achieve as a high school student.

Lisa Alexander, Taryn's debate coach and club advisor, gives several examples of Taryn's dedication to debate:

She has worked as a mentor and teacher of the Homeschool Debate Research Club, a national club that is dedicated to students helping each other with debate. Taryn assigned topics and critiqued the work produced by the debaters as well as assisted any novices who needed further help. She has also written essays and articles on debate theory, logic, and argumentation to help others. Taryn was also the head administrator of www.homeschooldebate.com, a website with over 1000 members, for a year. This role truly tests the Christian leadership ability of most adults, much less a teenager.

Throughout all of her homeschooled years though, Taryn never forgot about the 5 years she spent in Samoa as a child — an experience that has inspired her to become a doctor. She will take the first step towards that goal in September 2006 when she attends one of the following schools to which she applied: Seattle Pacific University, Pacific Lutheran University, Whitworth College, Scripps College, and Whitman College. Taryn expresses the impact Samoa had on her:

Samoa showed me that servants with Christ's heart are needed to 'go forth into every nation.' That is my life's calling and medicine is an ability that will bring me face to face with those I am witnessing to. It is personal and deals with one person — body, heart and soul—at a time. I strongly believe that there is no better way to serve God and humanity than through medical work in the third world. My life might only be a drop in the ocean of poverty and the lack of medical attention, but even a drop causes a ripple.

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