Anika Myers, a senior at Academy of the Holy Names High School, said she was having a difficult day when she got the word about being named a national semifinalist in the National Achievement Scholarship Program for Outstanding Negro Students.
"I was shocked, actually," Anika said. "I was having a bad day, and when I found out, I was very happy."
She was among five area high school seniors named as semifinalists in the scholarship program. The others are Vonn Howard and Kenya Reddy, of Chamberlain High School; Clifton Williams of Hillsborough High School; and Brian Mack of Robinson High School.
Approximately 1,500 black students nationwide were named semifinalists in the competition for 800 achievement scholarships. There were 89 semifinalists in Florida. The scholarships, which range from $250 to $2,000 per year, are sponsored by corporations, colleges and the achievement program itself.
Semifinalists are chosen based on their performance in the 1991 Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. It is run by the National Merit Scholarship Corp.
SAT scores, grades and recommendations from high school principals are used to determine 1,200 finalists. The finalists will be notified by the end of January, and scholarship winners will be chosen this spring.
Anika, who is 17, said she spends her free time teaching younger children how to read and volunteering at her church, the House of Prayer. She said she isn't sure where she wants to go to college, but would like to work for the government.
"Actually, my eventual goal is to work for the . . . State Department, and do something related to foreign service," Anika said.
Vonn Howard, 16, said he plans on getting degrees in aerospace and marine engineering so he can design space shuttles, planes and submarines. He said he would like to earn a degree in aerospace at Georgia Tech and a degree in marine engineering at the University of Miami.
For the past five years, Vonn has been taking six-week summer courses at the University of South Florida in the math and engineering program.
Kenya Reddy, 16, said she plans to become a lawyer. Before that, she said, she would like to study political science and international relations at either Duke University, the University of Pennsylvania or Princeton University.
Clifton Williams, 17, already has gotten a jump on his chosen profession _ teaching _ by tutoring classmates at Hillsborough High.
He said he plans on studying for a doctorate in English and a master's degree in French. "Hopefully, I can do a couple of things with that," Clifton said. "I can teach if I get a teaching certificate . . . or I can use my doctorate and be a professor in college teaching English."
Brian Mack, 17, said he wants to become an oceanographer. "I'm really interested in the study of the ocean, and the ocean's life, and its chemical makeup," Mack said.
Brian, who plays tennis and is a member of Robinson High's chess team, said he would like to go to either the University of Miami or the University of Southern California.