National Merit Scholarship

Lynden Christian senior Judah Bouma, left, is a 2022 National Merit Scholarship finalist, while LCS seniors Anna Engels, Aidan Veltkamp, and Ian Sterk, from left, received letters of commendation from the program. (Bill Helm/Lynden Tribune)

Three others receive letter of commendation

LYNDEN — When the world is your oyster, it’s not always easy picking the right pearl.

Recently, Lynden Christian senior Judah Bouma was named semifinalist in the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program. 

Three other Lynden Christian seniors, Anna Engels, Aidan Veltkamp, and Ian Sterk, received letters of commendation.

For Bouma, enough choices mean he’s right now undecided where he wants to attend college, and what he wants to study once he gets there.

Craig Johnson, principal at Lynden Christian, said that the four students “are clearly accomplished in many areas.”

“It doesn’t surprise me that they’re considering many options and career paths,” Johnson said. “These kids wouldn’t be where they are without focus and a desire to learn. I think our culture worships talent in and of itself and leaves out work. They wouldn’t have done well on their PSATs without hard work.”

High school juniors entered the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the Preliminary SAT (PSAT).

Insightful, steady, curious

One thing is certain for Bouma, the school and its students “did a pretty good job of handling the pandemic (a year ago) and challenged themselves.”

Veltkamp, who is also involved in soccer, also said he is undecided in his college and career path. He said the pandemic “made me appreciate opening in person.”

"I missed asking questions and having conversations,” he said.

Sterk said he found that learning online worked, but that learning in person “is better.”

With a focus on computers, Sterk said “you can ask for help, break things down into multiple parts for each other to work on. I’m fine working alone, but in a group I’m fine, too. I’m fine either way.”

Heidi Price, the school’s Bible and history teacher, said recently that the quartet of students are “insightful, steady, curious, thoughtful and persistent.”

“They do the extra because they can, and because it is a reflection of their desire to be the best version of themselves when it comes to learning and achieving,” Price said. “Each student tries to achieve and push themselves to become excellent, as excellent as they can. They are thoughtful with others and respectful to teachers. They honor the skill of academic rigor by doing their best work.”

Potential for success

Athletic as well as academic, Engels has played softball and soccer at Lynden Christian. Having sustained her share of injuries, Engels said she’s interested in. studying physical therapy and kinesiology in college.

“Doing physical therapy for athletes would be amazing,” Engels said. “I think it’s interesting how the human body works.”

As semifinalist, Bouma moves on in the competition to become a National Merit Scholar. According to a National Merit Scholarship Corporation news release, about 15,000 of the roughly 16,000 semifinalists will be notified in February that they have become finalists.

From April through July 2022, National Merit Scholarship winners will be announced.

“Merit Scholar designees are selected based on their skills, accomplishments and potential for success in rigorous college studies without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin or religious preference.”