Tuesday was an opportunity to celebrate the success of many of the students at Sacred Heart at their fall sports assembly. Perhaps no one deserved the recognition for their success more than the last student asked to come to the gym floor.
When Emma Rollings’ name was called, she had no reason to know why, as she is not a member of the fall athletic teams at the school. Instead, Rollings was recognized for the real as schools exist — academic success.
Rollings was named a commended student in the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program Tuesday afternoon.
“There are 4 million juniors, give or take a few, nationwide,” Sacred Heart math teacher Rich Buhner said before making the presentation to Rollings. “Of those, 1.6 million take the PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test).
“This is the first time in 27 years that we have made this announcement at Sacred Heart,” Bahner added. “Because of your results you are among the top 5 percent of students in the country, representing the top academic talent in the nation.”
For Rollings, a self-professed “nerd,” the announcement came as a total surprise.
“I really don’t think of myself as a very strong standardized test taker,” Rollings said after the assembly. “I remember the day we took the test I was super tired because I spent a lot of the night before studying for a big test in Mrs. McMullin’s class.
“All of my teachers have really helped me and guided me along the way,” she added. “I really want to thank Mr. Bahner. I have an interest in math and physics but he was the one who showed me that I could love the subjects.”
Bahner was honored to have the opportunity to present the award to Rollings.
“Emma is an all-around scholar in the best sense of the word,” Bahner said. “She is a voracious reader and is so informed and not solely as a school, book learner, she is knowledgeable and well-informed on current events and what is happening in so many fields.
“I know that Sacred Heart is a very good school and we provide so many opportunities for our students but a large part of Emma’s success is a God-given talent that she possesses and a hunger to learn, that makes a difference,” he added. “Emma will go on to do great things.”
Rollings said she is considering a number of career choices and feels she changes her mind about them every two weeks.
“I think I’m kind of a jack of all trades when it comes to my interests and a lot of them overlap,” Rollings said. “I jump around with my interests.
“I really like writing and a lot of scientific fields including environmental policy,” she added. “Right now politics are fascinating especially this year and I have always considered engineering and architecture and maybe following in my dad’s footsteps.”
Rollings’ father, Rob Rollings, is a local architect and her mother, Bev Rollings, is the president of the Sacred Heart Foundation Board of Directors and is the founder of the Sedalia Area Farmer’s Market.
“We didn’t know that Emma had received this and we are both so proud of her,” Bev Rollings said. “We were just told to show up at the assembly today; we really thought it was just something the senior parents were asked to attend.
“Emma has a love of learning and she works extremely hard,” she added. “She is so curious and she will track a theory down to its origin but for her it’s a labor of love.”
As a senior, Rollings said she still has a great deal of time she will devote to her studies and her consideration of the college she will attend next year.
“When I’m not working or refereeing a game of soccer for the Paul Clover League I’m usually up in my room studying or researching something.” she said. “Google is a very handy tool.
“I do have some schools in mind including Truman State, the University of Chicago, Washington University and K-State, especially if I go into architecture like my father,” she added. “I’m just very grateful to my teachers and my friends and family for all the support and help they have given me.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484.