By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
Southwest Covenant Schools’ Class of 2020 president is part of a select group high-achieving scholars with a bright future ahead.
Luke Arnould, among six of the Yukon Christian school’s senior class valedictorians, is a new National Merit Scholar and Oklahoma Academic Scholar.
Luke will attend Oklahoma State University in Stillwater this fall majoring in Management Information Systems. The SWCS graduating senior, who scored 36 on the ACT during his sophomore year, had a 4.0 unweighted GPA in high school.
“I’ve really enjoyed the time I spent with friends and teachers at Southwest Covenant,” Luke said. “I’m very grateful to the faculty and staff who have supported me and all the students.
“I’m also thankful for all the people who’ve been so gracious along the way.”
Members of Yukon’s Good News Church, where his father has been pastor nearly 30 years, gave Luke computers when he was ages 6 and 12 because they recognized his love for technology.
The son of Yukon’s Tom and Sharon Arnould, Luke has earned several other honors from OSU: The Dean of OSU College Award, Cowboy Achievement, Cowboy Merit Scholarship, and Conoco-Phillips Scholarship. He also was awarded the True Sky Scholarship.
Luke and the 24 other members of Southwest Covenant’s Class of 2020 are due to participate in a graduation ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Friday, June 5 inside the sanctuary of Covenant Community Church, 2250 S Yukon Parkway.
As the 2020 senior class president, Luke will read aloud the class Bible verse, Hebrews 12:1, as part of the ceremony. He then will hand the Bible to the 2021 president and tell what the Bible verse will be for next year’s senior class.
ACTIVE IN SCHOOL, CHURCH
Luke joined the SWCS Student Council as a junior and served as its treasurer his senior year. He and other members planned and presented charity events, pep rallies and other school activities.
Luke also earned Christian Character awards for service and diligence.
This top scholar plans to stay active at OSU, where he looks forward to being part of the college’s well-respected business school.
“I’m excited about my degree,” Luke said. “It will be the same work that I’ve done over the last few years at the church.
“It’s all about problem-solving and optimizing things.”
Luke started volunteering at age 12 at Good News Church, 1054 E Main. He’s solved technology issues, updated and built computers, unified the church’s social media and online accounts, and run the church livestream – including the recent Yukon High School Baccalaureate service.
When it comes to his work, Luke believes in striving for perfection and giving his best effort.
Outside of his school and work, the SWCS senior class president enjoys photography.
Luke took hundreds of photos during two family trips to the Czech Republic. He embraced the opportunity to explore a different culture, view classic architecture and see the beautiful country.
Luke is one of two SWCS Patriots who will attend OSU starting in the fall semester. He looks forward to meeting new people in an “entirely new environment.”
An MIS degree can open many doors.
“I can see myself working for a bank or large company, even at first in the IT (information technology) department,” Luke said. “One day, maybe even working in cyber-security in a position keeping the web safe.”
CHOSEN FROM TALENTED POOL
Luke is being honored by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation as one of 4,100 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship recipients. These Merit Scholar winners were chosen from a talented pool of more than 15,000 finalists in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program.
National Merit scholars like Luke were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors.
The committee appraised a substantial amount of information submitted by both the finalists and their high schools: Academic record, Preliminary SAT (PSAT)/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT) scores, contributions and leadership in school and community activities, an essay written by the finalist, and recommendation written by a high school official.
The National Merit Scholarship Corporation annually honors three groups of Merit Scholar winners: College-sponsored awards, college-sponsored awards and $2,500 National Merit scholarships.
By the end of the 2020 program, about 7,600 students will have earned the “Merit Scholar” title and received a total of over $30 million in college scholarships.
This year’s National Merit Scholarship Program began in October 2018 when over 1.5 million juniors in some 21,000 high schools took the PSAT/NMSQT, which served as an initial screen of program entrants.
Last fall, the highest-scoring participants in each state, representing less than one percent of the nation’s high school seniors, were named semifinalists on a state-representational basis.
Only these 16,000 semifinalists had an opportunity to continue in the competition.
From the semifinalist group, some 15,000 students met the very high academic standards and other requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition.