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Holmes Student Overcomes Doctors' Predictions, Becomes National Merit Semifinalist

When David Thompson was three years old, he was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder that affects language and behavior development in children.
“Because he was on the spectrum, doctors told us that he was going to have a more difficult path than other children,’’ said his mother, Rene Thompson. “That scared me to death.’’
David is now 17 and a senior at Holmes High School where teachers see him as a brilliant student. He scored in the 99th percentile on the PSAT and is now a semifinalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program.
“Of course we are so proud of David,’’ said Mrs. Thompson also referring to her husband, Steven Thompson. “But we also wanted to make sure the teachers and staff knew this is their success as well. At every point they have treated him like they would treat their own family member. At no point did I ever hear a teacher say, 'He can’t do.'"
David has attended Covington Independent Public Schools since preschool at James E. Biggs Early Childhood Education Center. He then went on to Glenn O. Swing Elementary, Two Rivers Middle School, and Holmes High School. He created a tutoring program for other students and is a member of the Academic Team at Holmes. This year, David was nominated for Homecoming King.
David has been with the same group of students, which has been beneficial to him, Mrs. Thompson said. “They just see David as David and that’s just a part of his personality,’’ she said. “When he graduated from 8th grade, I lost it because when they called David’s name, his entire class stood up and cheered for him.’’
David said his Asperger’s probably helped him with schooling because he says he concentrates on everything, he added, “I have had some pretty good teachers.’’
David, who wants to become a teacher, was about 1.4 million juniors who entered the Merit scholarship program by taking the SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NSMQ). According to the National Merit Program, the nationwide pool of semifinalists, represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest scoring entrants in each state. 
Renee Murray, an instructional coach at Holmes, said David is an exceptional student. “We are just delighted that he has the opportunity through the National Merit Program to receive national scholarships. This is outstanding.’’
-Staff report
Photo: David Thompson (provided)