180 Days - Kepner Earns National Merit Honor

180 Days - Kepner Earns National Merit Honor

Collin Kepner

National Merit Semi Finalist, Collin Kepner, is not sure of his future career path but appreciates the opportunities he’s been given while attending Ottumwa High School.

The OHS senior was recently notified that he is one of 16,000 semifinalists across the country in the 63rd annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Kepner will have an opportunity to continue in the competition to earn a National Merit Scholarship. On Tuesday, Kepner also became aware that he earned a 36 on his ACT composite.

So far, he has made 11 college visits and loved every one of them. “I wish I could say I knew,” he said when asked what his major will be. He is interested in math-related fields, including engineering and economics, or even math.

Not only has he excelled academically, he is also very involved in various extra-curricular opportunities. “I have a lot of interests,” he said. He plays the oboe in band and orchestra; sings in Meistersingers and show choir; is in debate, participates in large group and individual speech contest; and science club. Currently, he is rehearsing for his role as Uncle Fester in the high school’s upcoming musical, “The Addams Family.”

Being involved in the community is important to him and he plans to earn his Silver Cord for graduation. He has already earned over 70 hours helping the band boosters with basketball concessions and 40 hours as a camp counselor for Camp Invention. “That was pretty fun,” he said. He also serves on the Legacy Youth Alliance and has volunteered for several other events as well.

His course load at OHS has included college prep and dual enrollment courses, and TAG. “I’ve liked everything I’ve taken.” He will graduate with over 50 college credits. His father works at Indian Hills so he has taken advantage of free tuition and taken courses each summer as well.

Picking a college will be a challenge. Some colleges won’t accept credits from a community college. Others offer limited scholarships. “There is a lot to consider,” he said. “In the end it will probably come down to money.”

He credits OHS for providing a variety of opportunities. “I’ve been allowed to explore a lot of activities,” he said. “Everything coordinates really well. I’ve been able to find myself."

And he feels the academic offerings have supported his success. “The academic opportunities are unrivaled with smaller schools in the area,” he said. “The challenging courses have definitely helped me. I think I’ve liked every single teacher I’ve ever had.”