2020 National Merit Commended Students

Posted: November 1, 2019

Congratulations to seniors David Liu, Robert Aikins, and Thomas Dailey! The trio of Warriors has been named Commended Students in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program. Commended students are recognized for their exceptional academic promise demonstrated by their outstanding performance on the qualifying test used for program entry. 

The National Merit Scholarship is based on the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT). Of the 1.5 million students that took the PSAT, they scored in the top 3-4% — only approximately 34,000 students nationwide receive this designation. 

Principal Okuniewski commented, “David, Robert, and Thomas truly embody the Pillars of RICE, and are great examples of what can be achieved through focused diligence, determination, and hard work. I look forward to seeing what these fine young men accomplish in their pursuit of academic excellence.” 

Commended 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 are super proud of these high-achieving Warriors!

David Liu is an international exchange student. He is a National Honor Society student with a multitude of AP program courses under his belt. David’s ambitions lie in the fields of computer science, artificial intelligence, and psychology, and he hopes to attend either Oxford, Imperial College London, University of Chicago, or the University of Michigan next fall. He has participated in college-level research projects such as Undergraduate Research of Psychology (Haverford College) and Lab Research of Environmental Chemistry (Madonna University). David is a talented flute player in several Honor Bands, including Oakland, U-M, Wayne State, and Concordia. He is also a member of the Latin Honor Society, runs cross-country, and tutors. Of the Brother Rice community, he shares, “It’s a close-knit family that offers endless academic and extracurricular opportunities for many. I really appreciate the tremendous help from all my teachers, counselors, coaches, and brothers throughout the years.”

Robert Aikins has his sites set on studying biomedical engineering, and his top college choice is Vanderbilt University. He is a member of the National Honor Society and has completed several AP courses in his quest for excellence. Robert dedicates most of his time outside of school to the Robotics team. He also mentors the St. Regis/St. Hugo grade-school level robotics team, who recently won the Innovative Solution Award for their take on reducing homelessness and poverty in southeastern Michigan. Robert explains that his time at Brother Rice “has helped me prepare for my future, not just academically, but personally, too. I firmly believe I would not be the person I am today without the influence of my teachers and peers at Rice.”

Thomas Dailey is moving in the direction of electrical engineering, looking at either Michigan or Penn State, and will hit the ground running with his strong robotics experience and AP portfolio. With a deep faith foundation, Thomas has been our school Altar Server since his freshman year. This past summer, he earned the rank of Eagle Scout, and National Honor Society, Mech Warriors, and Model UN round out his extracurricular experiences. Thomas feels ready for the next steps and shares, “Brother Rice has developed my work ethic and taught me how to work hard and get what work I need to done when there are other things I want to do. It has also taught me how to manage my time, so I can do well in multiple hard classes and still be involved in my extracurriculars.”

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