Student Standouts & Faculty Feature for April 28, 2023

Student Standouts: Chou ’23, Hardy-Lyles ’23, Kanumury ’23, Kamat ’24, Kamat ’25, Fundler ’27, Saini ’27, Upper School Math Team, and Boys Track & Field

Faculty Feature: Roth

Congratulations to this week’s standouts below. Way to go #RamNation! And as always, if you have a story to share, please email


Senior Ranked as Semifinalist for U.S. Presidential Scholar

A big congratulations to Jackson Chou ’23 on advancing to the semifinalist round for the U.S. Presidential Scholars program! In January, Chou was one of 100 nominees in Missouri (and one of 4,000 total nominees in the country) named as a candidate for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. Last week, he advanced to being one of just 11 semifinalists in Missouri (and one of the 638 semifinalists in the country).

Candidates were invited to apply to the program based on their SAT/ACT scores in one sitting out of over three million graduating seniors. They submitted applications similar to their college applications and awaited this recent news about who advanced. In mid-May, the U.S. Secretary of Education, Dr. Miguel Cardona, will announce the 161 U.S. Presidential Scholars, including one boy and one girl from each state.

Congratulations on being a semifinalist, Jackson!

Senior Appointed to the Air Force Academy

A very big congratulations to Matlynne Hardy-Lyles ’23 who last week received a Letter of Appointment to the United States Air Force Academy! The appointment is like a scholarship. There’s no tuition at USAFA in exchange for a minimum of five years of service. All of her expenses, like books, clothing, and a laptop, are provided to her and she also will receive a salary of $1,200 a month.

In late June, Hardy-Lyles will leave for Colorado for basic training. “My basic training starts with In-processing day, I-day, which is when I’m given all of the materials that I will need at the academy,” she said. “The next few weeks will be centered around changing me from a civilian to a soldier. I will also go through military training.”

Hardy-Lyles knows a lot about hard work already, which will serve her well in the months and years ahead. She’s accomplished a lot getting to this point. “Receiving my appointment felt really great,” she said. “I put a lot of work into getting into USAFA. I had to keep my grades up while trying to train for the physical test and enjoy my senior year. The training was one of the hardest parts of my process. I would have school, and then I would go to the gym for two hours, then go home and do my homework. The deeper I got into the year, the harder that became. There were times when I questioned if this was the right path for me or even if I was going to be accepted, but I used that fear as fuel to keep me going. I had several setbacks, lost a lot of sleep, and shed a lot of tears, but through all of it, I was able to push through and get to the school of my dreams.”

Congratulations, Matlynne! Your fellow Rams are cheering you on and are so proud of you!

Senior Dubbed Outstanding Student Leader

On Wednesday, senior Kareena Kanumury ’23 was selected by the St. Louis County Department of Human Services as an Outstanding Student Leader. She’s listed as enjoying dance, squash, piano, environmental activism, learning, and volunteering and she plans to attend UC Berkeley and major in molecular cell biology. Congratulations, Kareena!

Upper School Brothers Earn 3rd Place in 2023 Diamond Challenge Innovation Summit

Hans ’24 and Evan Kamat ’25 competed in the 2023 Diamond Challenge Innovation Summit, April 23-25. The Summit was sponsored by the University of Delaware/Horn Entrepreneurship Program. Now in its 11th year, the Diamond Challenge is widely considered the world’s most prestigious high school entrepreneurship and pitch competition. The Horn Entrepreneurship undergraduate program has been consistently ranked as one of the best in the nation by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine.

This year, over 600 teams applied to the Diamond Challenge worldwide. Finalists were chosen at regional and international locations, including the March 5 event in Delaware, where the Kamat brothers made it to the finals. Finalists included teams from Panama, Thailand, China, South Korea, Australia, Singapore, India, and Nigeria. Finalists from Texas, Connecticut, Georgia, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, and Virginia represented the U.S. After touring UD innovation hubs and maker labs, finalists toured the world headquarters of W. L. Gore, makers of Gore-tex for medical devices and used in apparel by North Face and Supreme. The brothers then spent a day pitching to distinguished judges, including the Mayor of Wilmington, Delaware, and executives from Gore. They pitched their consumer product, Benchwarmer, a seat warmer for sports teams. After keynotes and workshops, the final awards found the Kamat brothers in a third-place finish and total winnings of $4,250, capping an incredible three days of an exciting deep dive into the business world, networking with noted entrepreneurs and leaders, and meeting like-minded students from around the world. Way to go, Hans and Evan!

Ram Earns 3rd Place in National Middle School Chess Championship

Julian Fundler ’27 just returned from the 2023 National Middle School Chess Championship in Austin, Texas, where he tied for 3rd place nationally in his rating category. Fundler competed individually, representing MICDS. Way to go, Julian!

Eighth Grader Wins Junior Public Speaking Competition

Congratulations to Maahi Saini ’27 for winning first place in Junior Public Speaking at the North South Foundation contest this year! North South Foundation (NorthSouth) is a volunteer-driven non-profit organization established in 1989. Educational Contests organized by NorthSouth in the U.S. are designed to encourage academic excellence among children, K-12.

Saini shares an inside perspective of what the contest was like: “The contest consisted of 12 people, and we got 30 minutes to prepare with no devices or books, only what we could think of. The prompt was “How should Middle Schoolers be spending their free time?” and I got 30 minutes to prepare but finished in 15. We waited until it was our turn and went upstairs to where there was a stage and a bunch of chairs sitting on the floor. When I won, I was pretty surprised since I did not expect to win because of the amount of competition presented between the other peers. It felt good to win and definitely was a morality boost.”

Amazing job, Maahi!

Math Team Qualifies for Nationals

Six MICDS students competed at the 2023 Missouri Math League State Competition with over 100 students on Saturday, April 22 at the University of Missouri. Individually, Jason Song ’25 placed 5th amongst sophomores in the sprint competition and 5th in the combined competition (sprint and target). Henry Clay ’24 placed 2nd amongst juniors in the sprint competition and 3rd in the combined competition. As a team, they placed 3rd in the power question (a set of questions about a surprise college-level topic) and 3rd overall, earning a spot at Nationals in Kansas City on May 20. They finished the day with 141.333 points, finishing behind Rockbridge High School, Central High School, and one point ahead of Pembroke Hill for the final automatic qualifying spot. Way to go, Rams!

(Team photo from left to right: Karthik Krishnaswamy ’26, Jason Song ’25, Henry Clay ’24, Andrew Haas ’25, Sophie Yokoo ’25, Ellie Reardon ’25).

4x100 Relay Team Races to 2nd Best Time in School History

In Boys Track & Field, Jeremiah Clay ’24, Cameron Lester ’23, Henry Rohan ’26, and Winston Moore ’23 ran 42.98 in the 4×100 Meter Relay, which is the second-best time in school history and only 0.04 seconds off the school record. What an exciting run!

Faculty Feature: Dr. Tanya Roth Delivers Talks, Serves on Panel, & Guest Teaches College-Level Section

Over spring break, Dr. Tanya Roth, Upper School History Teacher, was invited to give a talk in honor of Women’s History Month at Georgia Southern University. She spoke with upper-level undergraduate students. “I was a guest for a research methods class and talked with students about doing research, writing, and organizing your research,” Dr. Roth said. “Then, I gave a talk entitled ‘Equality Evolving: Womanpower in the U.S. Military from the Cold War to the Present.'”

A couple of weeks later, Dr. Roth was invited to be a panelist at Virginia Military Institute on April 5. The panel was entitled “Women, Military Service, and Citizenship” and was to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the admission of women as cadets at VMI. She also taught a section of U.S. Constitutional History while there.

From left to right: Professor Mark Boonshoft, VMI, Dr. Tanya Roth, MICDS History Teacher, Major General Cedric T. Wins, Superintendent of VMI, Professor Kara Vuic, Texas Christian University, Miranda Summers Lowe, Smithsonian Modern Military Curator and National Guard Bureau’s Legislative Liaison, Professor Madeleine Ramsey, VMI