Two of 20 to receive Centralis Scholar Award
Two H.H. Dow High School seniors were the recipients of Central Michigan University’s Centralis Scholar Award and they just happen to be lifelong best friends.
Alexus Houk and Lindsay Thompson, both 18-year-old seniors in Midland, have been friends since kindergarten. So, when they both had the opportunity to apply for Central Michigan University’s Centralis scholarships, they carpooled together to Mount Pleasant for the one-day competition in November.
Thompson said it was exciting to be back on CMU’s campus again since she had last toured it in the summer of her junior year. She said she had a different perspective knowing it was potentially the university she would attend.
“Getting to see it at a different time of year it felt more real and I could just – I was getting a better feeling for the place and I really really enjoyed it,” she said. “And being there with my best friend – it was just a really big steppingstone in my college journey.”
When Thompson and Houk arrived to campus, they were able to visualize their competition – hundreds of other students and their families gathered in a CMU auditorium.
“It was a little overwhelming – being surrounded by so many incredibly talented and intelligent people,” Thompson said.
As part of the competition, the girls had to complete a one-hour timed essay, which was considered in addition to each student’s GPA and ACT/SAT scores.
Then in December, Houk and Thompson found out on the same day they had won the Centralis Scholar Award – a day before Houk’s 18th birthday and while they were on their way to a Christmas party, where they got to share the news with friends.
“It’s very humbling and I’m super thankful for CMU’s generosity,” Thompson said.
The Centralis Scholar Award is Central Michigan University’s premier merit award and offers 20 recipients a full ride, covering 100% of tuition, room and board, fees, and includes a $5,000 study abroad award. The four-year value is $100,000.
In addition, the scholarship recipients are admitted into CMU’s Honors Program, which offers special opportunities, admittance to honors courses, specialized academic advising, priority registration and more. There are about 750 to 800 students in CMU’s honors program, about 4% of the on-campus body.
Both girls have cumulative, weighted GPAs of 4.6 and are in the top 10% of their class, according to Houk’s mother, Lynette Houk. She said they were hoping to celebrate the girls’ achievements with an open house party; however, due to the coronavirus pandemic, they no longer can. She said it’s been hard as a parent to watch her daughter miss out on typical senior-year activities.
Still, Lynette said she is thrilled by her daughter’s achievement and is filled with pride.
“She’s worked so hard for all these years, for her to be rewarded like that it’s really a gift of a lifetime,” she said.
Alexus said her current plan is to study pre-med. She would like to major in neuroscience and is most looking forward to what the honors program at CMU has to offer. She said they have a program called CMUMED Honors Early Assurance Program that prepares undergraduate students for medical school and allows early acceptance into the CMU medical school before their senior year of college. She plans to apply in the fall.
“I’m also excited to someday participate in the Alternative Break program,” she added. “This is an opportunity in which I can travel with a group to a location in the U.S. for a week to participate in a volunteer project.”
Thompson said she plans to explore a business degree with a minor in Spanish. She is looking forward to student life at CMU and has already looked into different clubs and intramural sports.
“The student life at CMU looks amazing so I’m just excited to be able to be a part of their student body and get to experience everything that CMU has to offer,” she said.