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MPISD – News

MPHS Debate team members qualify for state. 

The MPHS Cross-Examination team of sophomore Connelly Cowan and junior Taryn Thurman has earned enough points to compete in the Texas Forensics Association (TFA) State Tournament in El Paso in March of 2020. They are among the first five teams in the state to qualify. Cowan and Thurman competed at Lindale on September 21 and took the CX championship, with Cowan being named Top Speaker and Thurman earning third place speaker honors. This latest win earned them the remaining points needed to qualify for the TFA state tournament.

Also at Lindale, in Lincoln-Douglas debate, senior Caroline Rose and junior Reid Pinckard both made it to the quarterfinals. Pinckard also advanced to the semifinal rounds of Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking. Both Rose and Pinckard are close to earning enough points to qualify for state as well.

In Prose, freshman Madeline Tumey-Simmons placed 6th. And in Novice Oral Interpretation, Tumey-Simmons placed 2nd, and freshman Silvia Sustaita placed 4th. 

 “The team has been on a roll so far this year,” said MPHS Speech and Debate coach, Cody Morris. “They put in a ton of work this summer, and it is showing. Connelly and Taryn winning two tournaments has already surpassed their total of 1st place finishes from last year. Caroline and Reid both have a good jump on earning enough points to become the first LD Debaters to qualify for state in school history. I am so excited to see what the rest of this year has in store for us.” Morris and assistant Lea-Holli Hensley coach the team.

L to R – MPHS Class of 2020 Counselor Jerilyn Goolsby, Sam Pearson, MPHS Principal Craig Bailey

Mount Pleasant High School senior named National Merit Semifinalist

Mount Pleasant High School senior, Sam Pearson, has been named a National Merit Semifinalist. Pearson took the Preliminary SAT (PSAT) as a junior in October of 2018 and scored in the top 1% of all test-takers in the state of Texas. Pearson earned recognition as a Semifinalist, one of approximately 16,000 from across the nation.

These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million offered next spring.

Over 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2018 PSAT, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of Semifinalists in any state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

Becoming a Finalist, the Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school. They are endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT® or ACT® scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test. From the approximately 16,000 Semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation. 

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2020 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more than 345,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title. 

Sam is planning to major in Electrical Engineering and is applying to Texas A&M at Commerce. He is the son of David and Kim Pearson. 


Contact: Kelly Cowan