There seems to be no shortage of academic talent at Portage High School, and a good number of PHS’ top students choose to continue their educational success at Indiana University Northwest.
On Aug. 21, Portage grad and incoming IU Northwest freshman Devin Boylan continued a PHS tradition by formally accepting a Herbert Presidential Scholarship to attend IU’s Gary, Ind. campus. Devin and his parents, Terence and Trudy, attended a luncheon in his honor with Chancellor Bruce Bergland, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Kwesi Aggrey, College of Arts and Sciences Dean Mark Hoyert, and Director of Admissions Linda Templeton.
Devin, 18, is the fourth IU Northwest presidential scholar to come from PHS since the program was created by former IU president Adam Herbert in 2005. Last year, the campus had an unusual situation in that two presidential scholars came to IU Northwest, and both were from Portage.
“There seems to be a high level of success (at Portage High School),” said Devin, who suggested that PHS’ large size and diversity of academic opportunities allows its students to mature and excel intellectually.
Devin graduated from PHS this spring with a 4.125 grade-point average. He comes to IU Northwest as an exploratory freshman, meaning that he hasn’t decided on a major and wants to test the waters in a number of different subjects before selecting a discipline. His classes this fall include American history, pre-calculus, psychology, and sociology.
Devin said he is comfortable with a variety of subjects, including hard sciences, social sciences and math.
“I’m pretty good with numbers,” he said.
Thanks to his full-ride scholarship to IU Northwest and his decision to remain at home throughout college, Devin said he doesn’t expect to work during school, focusing instead on his studies. At PHS, Devin said, he had a few extracurricular activities, but his primary focus was always academic.
In his spare time, Devin likes to make music with his brother, Sean, who is entering his senior year at IU Northwest as an English major.
“He’s a drummer and a guitarist, and I do a little bit of the bass guitar, and I do the vocals sometimes,” Devin said. “We have a little bit of a home recording studio set up, and even though we can’t always play at the same time, we record our parts, and when we can get our stuff together we like to put songs together.”
Criteria for selection as a Herbert Presidential Scholar includes class rank, grade-point average, SAT I or ACT test scores, and strength of high school curriculum. Also considered is each student’s record of activities and leadership positions, the record of community service, a personal statement, and a recommendation from a high school teacher, guidance counselor or community member. Indiana residency is required, and preference is given to National Merit Scholarship qualifiers.
As part of his scholarship package, which includes full tuition, Devin received a laptop computer at the Aug. 21 luncheon. The scholarship will also contribute $1,000 toward a semester abroad in his junior or senior year.
“I am sure that your experience here will be a positive one,” Chancellor Bergland told Devin. “Our faculty members here are really outstanding. They do great work in the classroom, and they’re also excellent scholars.”
Devin’s parents expressed pride that their son had essentially secured his own education funding through his hard work in the classroom.
“I’m thrilled,” Trudy Boylan said. “I wasn’t really surprised (that Devin earned a Herbert scholarship), but I was honored. It’s especially an honor since they only pick one student. So we’re really very happy. And he’s been great. He really is a good kid, and he doesn’t give us any problems.”
“We’re very proud of him,” agreed Terence Boylan. “He’s done amazingly well, from first grade up.”