Diboll High School senior Devan Shea has been named a National Commended Scholar.
“I started off a bit shocked,” Devan said. “When I was told I qualified, I had to sit there and do a double take, like, really? It was surprising.”
Devan said academic success is sort of natural to him — he remembers things well, and he is usually able to work his way to an answer he doesn’t remember. He said he always tries to take the most rigorous courses he can. His favorite class is calculus right now because it is making him work to understand.
“I strive to find a challenge in everything I do,” Devan said.
If he had to give a word of advice to other students looking to improve, he said don’t wait until the last minute to do things.
“Strangely enough, I do that a lot, but I’ve been trying to get better at it,” he said. “I’m starting to break that habit. It’s a really nice feeling, getting everything done early and realizing I have all this time that I can improve upon it. Instead of just doing it all and turning it in, I actually get time to look at it and actually reflect on what I’ve done.”
Devan plans on majoring in computer science to become a software engineer. He has put in applications to Texas A&M, Texas Tech University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Baylor University.
“I wanted to go into software development because we’re moving into an age of technology, and if you’re the person that’s building everything that runs it, then you have very good job security,” he said. “It’s also very hard to lose your job to a robot if you’re the one that’s building it.”
Before graduation, Devan said he would really like to see the band flourish. He is the drum major and a section leader this year, and he said the band is full of incoming freshman that he and his class would like to lead and support. They also have a new band director this year.
“We came so close to getting sweepstakes last year, and that hasn’t been done since the ’80s,” he said. “My class is more or less the ones that have to usher in all this change and get the freshmen used to it.”
The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition based on the Preliminary SAT or the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, according to the National Merit website. Out of the 1.6 million students who take the test, 50,000 are chosen as the highest scores. About two-thirds or 34,000 of those students are given the recognition of Commended Students.