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Senior story: Naomi Benson, Merancas Middle College High

Naomi Benson has learned a lot during her time at Merancas Middle College High. Her class graduated on May 26, and she was Valedictorian. She also participated in Yearbook, National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta and the Chick-Fil-A Leadership Academy.

"My advice is to always be looking for an opportunity. There are plenty within our city and school system. You just have to look for them. Make the most of the time you have!"

Naomi describes her senior year as proud, thankful and unexpected. Her pride is in her school and accomplishments. She's thankful for the opportunity to earn college credits and for the people who supported her. She never expected the end of high school to be bittersweet. "If you told young Naomi everything I have been part of and accomplished, I would not have believed you."

The highlight of Naomi's time at Merancas was planning monthly club events called First Fridays. Her plans include work, travel, an internship and attending East Carolina University to focus on biology. In 10 years, she hopes to be Dr. Benson. "I want what I do to inspire young girls to be a part of STEM and to address the gender gap within the field."

The people who have influenced her most are the staff. "Take Mrs. Walston, for example. I struggled in English; it never clicked as easily as my other classes. She was my seventh-grade English teacher. It was the first time I enjoyed it. She taught me again at Merancas and encouraged me to take her AP course. Not only did Mrs. Walston make English enjoyable, she made it understandable. She is why I love to write, took part in two creative writing clubs and a creative writing class."

"I will always remember the community at Merancas. The staff and students are so motivated to make Merancas an amazing school!"

Read about more graduates here.

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