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Merrill Scholars honor mentors who inspired them

Kexin (Phyllis) Ju ’24, center, honors her high school mentor, Chuan Du of China, left
Kexin (Phyllis) Ju ’24, center, honors her high school mentor, Chuan Du of China, left, and her Cornell faculty mentor, Kyle Harms, right, a senior lecturer in the Department of Information Science, at the 36th Annual Merrill Presidential Scholars luncheon at Willard Straight Hall on Tuesday. (Jacob Mroczek/Cornell University)

Though she’s among the top seniors in her college, the most important lesson Jasmine Guarin ’24 learned from her favorite high school teacher was, “You do not have to be perfect to be successful.” 

“I’m grateful for that – it’s given me such confidence and encouragement,” said Guarin, a nutritional sciences major in the College of Human Ecology, who honored Matthew Sohl, who taught her history at Toms River High School South in New Jersey, during the 36th annual Merrill Presidential Scholars luncheon on May 21. “I wouldn’t be the person I am today without you.”  

Guarin was among the 42 Merrill Scholars who celebrated the high school teacher or mentor with the greatest influence on their early education and the Cornell faculty or staff member who contributed most significantly to their college experience. The scholars are graduating seniors selected by deans of the university’s 10 undergraduate colleges and schools based on outstanding scholastic achievement, evidence of leadership and their desire to positively affect the world beyond Cornell.

Read the full story on the Cornell Chronicle