Tuesday, May 30, 2000

Merrill Scholar Susan Crown invites me to Cornell 2000

280 Susan & Me at ReceptionIn 1996, Susan Crown graduated from Rio Americano as a top student among its high-flying college-bound students. She went on to attend Cornell University, the Ivy League school in bucolic Ithaca, New York.

In 2000, she was set to graduate Cornell having earned majors in biology and chemistry. But it wasn't as simple as that. She performed at a level that placed her in the top 1% of the graduating class. As a double science major. At Cornell. Go ahead and take a moment to absorb that.

These top students are recognized as Merrill Scholars and there are ceremonies and celebrations to be enjoyed. The scholars are allowed to identify a college instructor and a high school teacher who influenced them most profoundly.

Susan had a lot of outstanding teachers at Rio. And she and I had some nontrivial disagreements during her senior year. I always held her in the highest regard, and felt terrible through these differences.

I was surprised and delighted to learn that she had identified me as her most influential high school teacher.

The named instructors are invited to Cornell for the Merrill celebrations. Travel and accommodations are provided for. A $5000 scholarship is given to an incoming freshman, in the selected teacher's name. The whole affair is unexpected, wonderful, and classy.

I went through Susan's transcript and invited her former teachers to write a congratulatory note to her. I collected the notes and found a handsome box to deliver them in. I try to be classy, too.

And it was high time, I decided, that I get a digital camera. Digital cameras had been around for a few years and were getting better. I found several web-based camera review sites, most notably Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com). After much research, I settled on the unlikely Epson PhotoPC 3000z.

After the wonderful events at Cornell, and catching up with Susan, I was able to pay a visit to my brother, Bryce, and his wife, Mary, in Rochester.

2000 05 Cornell

B&GER Entry: The best student I ever had in AP Physics (earned top scores in the trig-based AND calculus-based physics Advanced Placement exams) went on to graduate in the top one percent of her class at Cornell. Double-majoring in Chemistry and Biology, Susan Crown made us very proud. Cornell’s top scholars are asked to identify a high school teacher who most influenced them. Despite otherwise being brilliant, Susan named me. Cornell flew me to Ithaca along with 30+ other HS teachers to participate in its celebration of Merrill Presidential Scholars. They also gave a $4000 scholarship in my name to a local HS grad matriculating at Cornell this Fall. It was a wonderful, once-in-a-career event.