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A Calverton student has joined the ranks of other young black American high achievers who have gone on to be deans and university professors, a U.S. ambassador and a NASA astronaut.

Luladay Megan Price, 17, was awarded as a National Achievement Scholar on Tuesday. The Calverton School senior is one of 800 finalists nationwide to receive the honor.

“I feel so incredibly honored to have been granted this award,” Price said. “It required a lot of hard work and effort on my part, but I don’t view that as a bad thing. Receiving this award is my way of saying thank you to God for blessing me with a supportive school, to Calverton for helping me reach this point and to my parents for all they’ve sacrificed to get me this far.”

The National Achievement Scholarship Program is an academic competition established in 1964 to provide recognition for outstanding black American high school students, in conjunction with the National Merit Scholarship Program. Black students may enter both the National Achievement Program and the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, PSAT/NMSQT.

At a ceremony in Calverton’s theater in the Bowen Thomas Center, Price was recognized before her middle and high school peers, teachers and her parents, Tsige and Mark Price, both pharmacists in Prince George’s County.

“Without [Price’s] individual determination, she would not be here,” Spencer Taintor, head of school for The Calverton School, said at the ceremony. “If it wasn’t for this group in the entire room, she would not be standing up to receive this achievement today.”

Taintor called the recognition “a milestone in the history of the school.” Of the several National Merit and National Achievement Scholars in the school’s history, Price is the fifth designee from the school in the past 14 years.

Currently, Price has been accepted to nine schools, including Washington University in St. Louis, Duke University, Stanford University, Harvard University, Princeton University, Haverford College, Washington College, Vanderbilt University and Williams College. She said she is leaning toward Stanford and Princeton but has not made a final decision.

Mark Price said he is proud his daughter is following an Ivy League family tradition. Lulit Price, 25, will graduate from Duke medical school this May, and Mehron Price, 23, also a Calverton graduate, attended Harvard University and graduated last May.

“We’re very blessed she’s been accepted to these amazing schools,” Tsige Price said of her daughter. “Our job is to love and support and encourage her in her decision.”

Luladay Price’s parents said they have visited almost all of the colleges and universities she has been accepted to, but she would be flying out to visit Stanford University this week by herself.

“She is a very dependable young woman,” Tsige Price said.

“Education is very important to both of us,” Mark Price said of himself and his wife. “… We are very grateful for The Calverton School and all they provide with super qualified teachers, small class sizes, ample academic choices and an environment that nurtures learning for those willing to put in the work.”

In addition to a 4.33 weighted grade point average, Luladay Price has participated in all of the school’s musical theater productions and field hockey for the past seven years, since she started at the school in sixth grade. She also co-founded an organization that helps Ethiopian children in need, called Kids Helping Needy Kids, with her sisters, Lulit and Mehron, in 2003 when she was 7 years old.

Susan Dice, the department head for the school’s performing arts program, has taught and directed Price for seven years and called her an “unbelievably humble and talented” individual.

“[Luladay Price] is always a pleasure to work with,” Dice said. “She is the most humble and always encourages the younger kids to get involved.”

Recently, Price starred in the school’s production of “The Pirates of Penzance, Jr.” as Ruth. Dice said Price flew back from visiting a college Saturday morning to make the show.

“She is always so willing to help,” Dice said.

As a National Achievement Scholar, Price will receive a $2,500 scholarship to attend the college or university of her choice. She said she is leaning toward majoring in law or psychology, but neither is set. She plans to make her college selection decision by May 1.

snewman@somdnews.com