MHS student headed to DC for inaugurationMark Schilling sets a hectic pace in high school.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
Mitchell High School senior Matthew Schilling recently played the role of reclusive loner Jud Fry in the MHS production of the hit Broadway musical “Oklahoma.”
It was a classic example of playing against type.
Active in debate, show choir, marching band, and other school activities, Schilling, 17, is anything but reclusive. He learned in October that he has been selected to attend the Jan. 19-23 Presidential Inaugural Conference in Washington, D.C.
“And we got the confirmation letter a few weeks ago,” he said. “It was incredible. We spent about an hour calling people. It was one of the highlights of the year, so far.”
The conference is a nonpartisan educational event for middle school, high school and college students held every four years in Washington to celebrate the inauguration of the president and vice president. President Obama and Vice President Biden will be sworn in for second terms on Jan. 20.
The five-day conference has a variety of exclusive events and activities for attending Inaugural Scholars, including opening night receptions, presentations from special speakers, and studies of past presidential campaigns, the electoral process and the presidency.
Schilling said this year’s keynote speakers will be former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Wesley Clark.
Students at the conference will also get an opportunity to attend the inauguration and spend the day at the Capitol.
Schilling said the inaugural invitation grew out of a National Youth Leadership Forum he attended in in Washington this September that focused on international diplomacy and national security. He was nominated for the forum by teacher Steve Morgan, and he received college credit from George Mason University for attending.
“It was quite an experience,” he said. “We got to talk to representatives from the CIA and FBI on different aspects of national security, and we talked to people from the Department of State and the World Bank about international diplomacy.”
Schilling filled out a form stating that he would be interested in attending the inaugural conference. He was pleased to learn he was among those selected to attend the exclusive event.
It’s all part of a busy senior year for Schilling, the son of Mitchell special education teacher Ralyna Schilling and Corn Palace Manager Mark Schilling.
Shilling, who received a score of 34 out of a possible 36 on his ACT exam, is, with classmate Noelle Yeo, a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist.
At the end of his junior year Schilling took fifth place in the state speech tournament in original oratory. He also received MHS’s “Best Public Forum Debater” award.
He is taking a statistics course at Dakota Wesleyan University. Next semester he will study economics and the history of World War II at DWU.
Schilling is aiming high for college with hopes to study economics at Princeton or Yale. Other college options under consideration are Augustana College, in Sioux Falls; Creighton University, in Omaha, Neb., and George Mason University, in Fairfax, Va.
“He’s a busy kid,” said Ralyna Schilling.