mcauley merit scholars

Mother McAuley High School students Martina Maples (from left), Megan Howley, Mary Russell, Brigid Barkmeier and Sydney Conn have been named as National Merit Commended Students by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation has named five Mother McAuley High School seniors as National Merit Commended Students.

The students are Martina Maples, of Mt. Greenwood, Mary Russell, of Beverly, Megan Howley, of Evergreen Park, Brigid Barkmeier and Sydney Conn.

About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Commended Students placed among the top 50,000 scorers of more than 1.6 million students who entered the 2020 competition by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

“This recognition is well deserved and a great reflection of the students’ commitment to advancing their own goals,” said Meg Gardner, dean of upperclasswomen. “They are accomplished at balancing their academic work with their participation in sports, clubs and other outside activities, and I’m certain they’ll continue to set and exceed their own expectations as they move into college and beyond. Our entire school community is proud of these Mighty Macs.”

“Those being named Commended Students have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success,” said a spokesperson for National Merit Scholarship Corporation. “These students represent a valuable national resource. Recognizing their accomplishments, as well as the key role their schools play in their academic development, is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation. We hope that this recognition will help broaden their educational opportunities and encourage them as they continue their pursuit of academic success.”

Maples is a member of the National Honor Society (NHS) and a Catherine McAuley Honors Scholar (CMHS), which is a program that recognizes superior academic achievement.

She has been a cheerleader for Br. Rice High School for four years, most recently serving as captain of the squad for her junior and senior year. As a rising junior, she participated in the DePaul University Actuary Program. She has been recognized as a Mac with Merit for her diligent work ethic and contributions to the McAuley community.

Maples received the Sr. Agatha O’Brien Memorial Scholarship her freshman year. She is a graduate of Queen of Martyrs Elementary School.

Russell is a CMHS and a member of the NHS, National Art Honors Society, National English Honors Society, Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica, and Respect Life Club.

As a Math Mac, she has competed in the Illinois State math competition all three years. She is a graduate of St. Walter Elementary School, where she is a volunteer coach for the volleyball and dance teams. In her freshman year, she earned the Sr. Agatha O’Brien Memorial Scholarship.

Howley is a member of NHS and is a CMHS. She maintains a 4.0 grade-point average and earned a gold medal on the National Spanish Exam.

She has been a member of the Mighty Macs cross-country and track teams for four years. Howley is a graduate of Most Holy Redeemer Elementary School.

Barkmeier is a member of NHS and CMHS. She also has been a member of the state-qualifying Math Macs throughout her four years, earning first place in the individual geometry test her sophomore year.

Barkmeier is a student ambassador, serves on the student council and is a member of the McAuley swim and water polo teams. She is a graduate of St. Catherine of Alexandria Elementary School.

As a freshman, she earned the Sr. Agatha O’Brien Memorial Scholarship, which recognizes students who score in the top 5 percent on the High School Placement Test.

Conn is a CMHS and a member of the NHS, French Club, Math Macs, Autonomous Car Club, Unity Community, Book Club and Eco Macs. As a musician, she plays viola for the McAuley symphony strings and string ensemble, notably as first chair.

During her junior year, she traveled to West Virginia as part of the McAuley Appalachian Mission Project. She previously competed on the McAuley swim, water polo and soccer teams. Conn earned the Sr. Agatha O’Brien Memorial Scholarship in her freshman year. She is a graduate of St. Linus Elementary School.