Some days have a different feel than others.
Last fall was one of those for freshman Tor Vorhees. He went into school earlier than usual to complete some unfinished business regarding scheduling.
Vorhees was doing senior experience, a program that Bearden High School offers to students who want to utilize and improve their independent research, problem-solving, creative thinking and other skills.
He wanted to take it as a class, but because he was unsure at the time, he didn't put it down while making his schedule. He
One of the guidance counselors in the room mentioned the Haslam Scholarship, the most prestigious merit scholarship available for UT undergraduates, and said that Vorhees should apply.
It was rather taxing on him. After a self-nomination, an application, being one of the 60 semifinalists to interview with then Associate Provost and Director of the Chancellor's Honors and Haslam Scholars program Steve Dandaneau, partaking in finalist's weekend with 30 others where there was a group interview, a one-on-one interview and a discussion of the book "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks," — which he had to write an essay on — then, and only then, could he finally relax and wait for the phone call.
For Vorhees, it came after a long day of anticipating and twiddling thumbs.
"There was a time frame you would most likely be called if you got it and if you didn't get it," he said. "It was very stressful to wait during that because I was just sitting next to my phone waiting, basically holding my breath."
For a high school senior, there's not much he hasn't done.
This past summer he hopped across the pond to tour Europe with some fellow seniors and Connie Francis, a teacher at BHS.
Every year, Francis organizes some type of international trip for mostly seniors and those that want to go can go. This year they hit Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria and Hungary in 18 days.
The BHS graduate plans to start UT in the fall, but it wasn't before he experienced a vast array of cultures beforehand.
Vorhees is one of 15 students to receive the Haslam Scholarship, a four-year scholarship that includes a total estimated cost of in-state tuition and fees, the average cost of an on-campus room and board, books and other financial benefits exclusive to Haslam Scholars.
But there's much more to Vorhees than a smart brain and a free ride.
While at BHS, Vorhees was a member of the Science Olympiad team, a science-based competition with more than 6,200 teams from 50 U.S. states. Teams compete in 23 events that span the science field from life science to physical science to earth science.