Scholar, actor and leader

Student achiever

February 05, 2003

The student: Carmen Cain, 17

School: River Hill High

Special achievement: She was among the highest-scoring black students in the nation on the PSAT, making her a National Achievement Scholarship Semifinalist. Scholarship applicants must also write an essay. "I was surprised because it hadn't occurred to me that there was this other side of the PSAT," she said. Carmen is also a National Merit Commended Scholar.

What was the topic of her essay? "I wrote about my leadership in Girl Scouts and in the drama program and my Girl Scout Gold Award project." Her project took her to assisted-living communities. There, she gave dramatic readings of humor columns by such authors as Erma Bombeck.

Background in drama: She was stage manager and student director in her seventh-grade drama class. "In high school, I started acting in the plays so that when I was old enough, I would be considered for student director and leadership positions. I just kind of stayed with acting." She recently played Lady Basildon in a school production of Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband.

What she likes about theater: "Although most people think of it as very artistic and emotional, there is actually an order to things. ... There's all sorts of organizational things that go into making a production. I like the way art and organization are combined."

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