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Hopkinton freshman, the December Francis Wayland Parker Scholar, likes taking initiative

New Hampshire Union Leader

January 12. 2014 10:09PM


For Hopkinton Middle School 9th-grader Aidan Molnar, the first time was the charm.

Molnar was selected as the December Francis Wayland Parker Scholar of the Month, earning the designation with the first essay he sent into the competition.

Molnar said that, when he discovered his essay had been selected, he thought he'd only gotten past a preliminary round.

"I figured I had a shot at it, but I'm still surprised that I won," Molnar said.

Molnar wrote that he believed Parker, a Bedford native who revolutionized education in the 19th century by steering students away from rote memorization and into interactive teaching methods, would be impressed by his school's efforts to encourage students to take more initiative in their own education.

For example, he said, he had to read a short story for English class. The twist, though, was that he got to pick the story — he chose a science fiction piece — rather than the entire class being given the same thing to read.

"I thought it made the project enjoyable, rather than be kind of forced into doing something," he said. "I had my own interest in it, instead of just having to work on another school project."

Despite having a 4.0 average, Molnar is no bookworm. The freshman is a three-sport athlete. He's a wing on the high school varsity hockey team, plays soccer in the fall and runs long-distance races for the track team in the spring.With his selection as the December scholar, Molnar is contending for the annual Scholar of the Year honor.

The Francis Wayland Parker Scholar program is sponsored by the New Hampshire Association of School Principals, in cooperation with the New Hampshire Union Leader, Lifetouch Studios and the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Northern New England.

Other nominees for December were:

Lilly Friedman, Plymouth Regional High School; Colleen Minnihan, ConVal Regional High School; Lauren Petrello, Manchester High School West; Sare Campbell, Moultonborough Academy and Katherine Frederick from Sunapee Middle High School.

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