Apr 11, 2006    #071
Contact: Michelle Hopkins

Two Valley Center High School seniors named Trustees' Scholars at UMKC, earning full, four-year scholarships

Andrew Daniels of Valley Center, Kan. and Amy Kucharo of Wichita, both seniors at Valley Center High School, will receive more than $60,000 each in scholarships/corporate sponsorships over four years as Trustees’ Scholars at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, beginning in the fall 2006 semester.

Each year, UMKC names ten academically gifted and accomplished entering freshmen as Trustees’ Scholars. The UMKC Board of Trustees created the scholarship program to support the University in attracting the best and the brightest students to the campus.

Trustees’ Scholars receive a scholarship package valued at more than $60,000 over four years. For the first two years, the scholarship covers educational fees, room & board and books. In the third and fourth years, the scholarship provides educational fees, $2,000 for room & board, and books, as well as an internship opportunity with a corporate sponsor. This opportunity has an estimated value of another $6,800 per year.

To qualify for the Trustees’ Scholars Program, students must meet at least two of the following three criteria: a minimum ACT Composite score of 30; rank in the top 5 percent of the graduating class; or a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or more in a 17-class core curriculum. Trustees’ Scholars must enroll fulltime, be seeking an undergraduate degree and commit to living on campus for the first two years.

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Andrew Daniels is an accomplished student not only academically, but in music (piano, trumpet, marching band squad leader), Boy Scout leadership, debate and forensics, theater, foreign language (Spanish and German) and a wide range of community service activities. He served as an officer in student government, varsity captain for the Scholar’s Bowl academic team and played on the varsity soccer team.

Daniels believes his high school pursuits will directly support both his short- and long-term career and higher education goals.

“My short-term goal is to major in piano performance while completing a pre-med curriculum,” he said. “I believe the aptitude, skills and motivation required for performing music are similar to those necessary for success in reaching my long-term goal, a career in emergency medicine. My aptitude for acquiring, integrating and recalling complex concepts of music theory can translate into an aptitude for learning and applying medical knowledge.”

Similarly, he believes his involvement with scouting – achieving the ranks of Life Scout and Eagle Scout – has accelerated his growth as a leader.

“I was senior patrol leader for our troop during a one-week summer camp and a two-week excursion. I was responsible for the safety and well-being of 12 scouts and four adult leaders. This experience provided me invaluable experience in motivating others, resolving conflict and building consensus – skills that serve well in any profession, particularly emergency medicine,” he explained.

Amid a myriad of accomplishments, Daniels points to one quality above all others that he believes sets a true leader apart. “Through three years’ participation in debate, as well as Student Congress, I have sharpened my critical thinking skills. I have learned to question the direction our country is moving rather than just accept what I hear from the mainstream news. Critical thinking skills truly distinguish the leaders from the followers,” he added.

Daniels is highly regarded at his high school for his strong moral, ethical and religious values. He is active in church activities and community service, including community clean-ups, service to autistic children, projects aiding the elderly, food banks and more. He gives substantial credit for his education and growth to his mother, a single parent, who is also raising two-year-old twins. The Trustees’ Scholarship, he said, will enable him to pursue a college education while furthering his community service involvement, an impossibility for him and his mother alone.

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Amy Kucharo reveals a lot about herself (and makes it clear she’s not any ordinary teenager) by her choice of a motto for living life. She cites a quotation by Benjamin Disraeli, novelist, skilled debater and England’s first and only Jewish prime minister. “’Life is too short to be small,’ she recited. To her that means, in part, “I want to make a difference and to mean something to each person I come in contact with. I want the world to remember me for doing something great when I die, and I want those I love to feel proud of who I was and what I did.”

A recommendation letter from a counselor at her high school is replete with words describing the qualities of a humanitarian on a big scale: strength of character, genius to serve humankind, incredible thirst for knowledge, overcomes tragedy with diplomacy and sincerity, genuine, compassionate and understanding.

Kucharo takes pride in the time she has spent with as many of the approximately 800 students in her school as possible. “I know almost all of their names and they know mine as well. By knowing people and caring about them, you make an impact in their lives,” she said.

She has demonstrated extraordinary leadership skills by performing at the forefront of many prestigious appointments and activities. A member of the Governor’s Commission on Teen Leadership (GCTL), she spearheaded the GCTL Choices seminar for freshmen for two years. Kucharo was selected as the Hugh O’Brien Youth Leader for her class and was honored as a Wichita State University Honor Scholar and University of Kansas Honor Scholar. She also represented her school and won election to a “county office” at Kansas Girls’ State, an event that hones youth leadership skills. She was an officer in the National Honor Society throughout high school and volunteered with Students Against Drunk Drivers (SADD) and Teens Against Tobacco Use. In addition, she organized the first-ever leadership retreat at Valley Center High School for all other student leaders of organizations and clubs at the school.

Kucharo aspires to a career in medicine, specializing in pediatrics. “To me being a doctor is one of the most respected and revered professions a person can have because a doctor dedicates his or her life to helping others live a quality life,” she noted. “I want to own my own practice and to bring light and help to others.”

She also is eager to participate in sports at UMKC. In high school, she excelled in golf, qualifying for the state competition twice, earning a varsity letter all four years, and serving as captain of the team and league champion.

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A reception is being held April 28 in Kansas City to honor the new and graduating Trustees’ Scholars and their parents.

For more information about the UMKC Trustees’ Scholars Program for the 2007-2008 academic year or an application, please contact Richie Bigham, assistant director of admissions, (816) 235-6138.


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