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Education Briefs: Putnam City student named National Merit semi-finalist, City School Board revises school year schedule, Fall Festival supported Harding Charter

Harding Charter Preparatory High School will host its annual fundraiser “Dollars for Scholars” on Thursday, October 22 at the Hart Building, 726 W. Sheridan Avenue in downtown Oklahoma City. Photo courtesy Keffer-Sharpe Photography
Harding Charter Preparatory High School is one of the schools based at the historic Harding building in Oklahoma City. File Photo (2015), courtesy Keffer-Sharpe Photography

Staff Report


Long Pham of Putnam City High School has been named a National Merit Semifinalist by officials of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, an honor placing him among the nation’s top high school students.
More than 1.6 million juniors in nearly 22,000 high schools entered the 2019 Merit Program by taking the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. Semifinalists are the highest scorers on the qualifying test in each of the 50 states. The number of semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.
Pham now has an opportunity to continue in competition for 7,500 Merit Scholarships, worth more than $31 million, to be given in the spring.

More than 90 percent of semifinalists become finalists, and about half of finalists will be selected as National Merit Scholarship winners, earning the title of “Merit Scholar.”

Merit Scholarship winners of 2019 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July.


The Board of Education for the Oklahoma City Public School District has approved a calendar revision for the next three years. According a press release from the district:

  • School starts mid-August and ends before Memorial Day
  • Students have a week off in October, at Thanksgiving and in March, with two weeks off at Winter Break.
  • The improvements would benefit students through increased time to get a teacher for every classroom, more time for preparing buildings, a longer summer break for school staff, and time to receive instructional materials prior to the start of school.

The calendars can be found on the district website.


Harding Charter Preparatory High School Fall Festival, boosting global themes, was held for October 8 at the historic school in Oklahoma City. School hallways featured live music and drama, student artworks, vendors with artistic wares and food from local sponsor-restaurants. Founded by Dr. Janet Baressi (who later served as Oklahoma’s Superintendent of Public Instruction) and group of civic leaders, Harding Charter Prep is at located at 3333 N. Shartel Avenue in Oklahoma City.

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