Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


Homeschooler Mackowiak named merit semifinalist


The National Merit scholarship isn’t only for youths in public school.

Homeschool student Sasha Mackowiak of Haines recently was named semi-finalist. Mackowiak scored a combined 223 on her PSAT test. Mother Martha Mackowiak said that the organization has a special page for homeschoolers.

“I’m filling out all the forms,” she said.

Along with the forms and applications, homeschoolers named as semi-finalists need a letter of recommendation and an endorsement from someone outside the family. Sasha’s came from Dr. Dan Hart of the American Bald Eagle Foundation.

Sasha participated in the youth raptor training program, learning the anatomy, physiology and nutrition of raptors and getting hands-on experience handling birds.

Mackowiak received the highest score that foundation has awarded for the class, 99.5 percent. “She’s been the best we’ve had, across the board,” Hart said.

According to Hart, Mackowiak’s presentations at the foundation often earn the praise of visitors. “I’ve had people stop by the office and say, ‘That young lady gave the best presentation I’ve ever heard’… I was thrilled to write her a recommendation.”

Mackowiak is writing an essay required of semi-finalists, about the raptor class.

She also has been visiting prospective colleges, including George Fox University in Oregon, Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash. and New St. Andrews in Idaho.

“She has a love of science and a passion for writing and literature,” her mother said. Mackowiak also plays harp and violin, is learning German and practices ballet.