Kathleen Murphy Scholars

The Kathleen Murphy Scholars Program is designed to meet the needs of our highest performing students and to intellectually challenge them not only in the classroom but also through enrichment activities consistent with our mission. Our intention is to give the students in the Murphy Scholars Program the opportunity to enhance their education through a program with special enrichment experiences. Academically talented students in tenth, eleventh and twelfth grade pursue a rigorous course of study, participate in extracurricular activities, and satisfy their intellectual curiosity through cultural enrichment experiences.

The Kathleen Murphy Scholars Program honors Ms. Kathleen Murphy who served as principal of Totino-Grace High School from 1979 until 2001. During that time Ms. Murphy was instrumental in establishing an honors program for gifted students while also developing a program to offer special learning services to students most in need. Ms. Murphy worked closely with teachers to challenge them and affirm their work. She encouraged them in professional growth and worked hard to provide resources for them. This program honors Ms. Murphy for her creativity, love of literature and commitment to academic rigor.

Students in the Murphy Scholars Program will be asked to cover the cost of seminars if tickets must be purchased or entrance fees must be paid. Financial assistance is available for students who cannot afford these expenses.

Program Goals

  • To provide an environment, curriculum and the academic expectations that will encourage Scholars to fully develop their intellectual talents.
  • To provide additional opportunities for students to be challenged academically and to explore various areas of interest through outside seminars.
  • To assist the Scholars in pursuing a specific area of interest through an independent project, guided by a mentor teacher.
  • To provide additional guidance to Scholars as they choose their course of study and prepare for their post-high school endeavors.   

Program Requirements

  • Enroll in a minimum number of honors or AP level courses: 10th grade - two honors courses; 11th and 12th grade - three honors or AP courses.
  • Participate in a week-long summer seminar prior to sophomore year that emphasizes intellectual curiosity, academic planning, leadership training, faith development, cultural enrichment and service.
  • Participate in at least one extracurricular activity during the school year.
  • Participate in four cultural enrichment seminars during the school year.
  • Maintain a 3.8 cumulative GPA.
  • Attend one Capstone presentation done by a senior Scholar during sophomore or junior year.
  • Plan and execute a senior Capstone project designed by the Scholar in consultation with a mentor teacher and the Program Director. This will be done by taking a .5 credit Research Seminar course during semester 2 of junior year. (Students in the E3 program do not need to take this course. They will complete their Capstone in the Engineering 3 class during their senior year.)

Program Benefits

  • Additional intellectual challenges provided by field experiences not generally available to students
  • The support of a peer group committed to similar academic goals of personal excellence and intellectual growth
  • Mentorship support provided by a teacher who is chosen by the Scholar (in consultation with the Program Director) who will provide guidance and counsel to the Scholar for the senior project
  • Access to the Program Director who acts as an additional academic advisor while in the program
  • Summer enrichment opportunities
  • Designation as a Scholar at graduation commencement
  • Identification of the program and its requirements on all college applications

Application Process

Students who wish to apply must attend an information meeting, complete an application and obtain 3 TG Teacher Recommendations. Students who complete these requirements will be invited to an interview after Christmas Break.  

If a 9th grader is currently in less than 2 honors courses or does not have a 3.8 GPA, he or she may apply for the program and may be accepted on a contingency basis.  He or she must be at a 3.8 GPA by the end of 9th grade and be registered for at least 2 honors courses for sophomore year. If these requirements are not met, the student will not be accepted into the program.

2019 Murphy Scholars Capstone Projects

Megan Thienes: What is the process for unaccompanied minors to immigrate into the United States from South American countries?

Emma Kalberer: Do concussions increase the likelihood of developing mental illness?

Liana Linn: Is climate change real?

Emma Udermann: What are the risks of non-vaccination?

Emily Lafeber: How will the melting of the glaciers in Greenland, Arctic, and Iceland affect the Atlantic thermohaline circulation, and how will that affect life on our planet?

Marley Webb: How does participation in sports impact academic success?

Annabelle Majerus: How has the state of forensic science evolved over the years?

Anna Becicka: How did hemophilia affect the lives of Queen Victoria and her descendants?

Jack Cibuzar: Will the trade war between the US and China succeed (from the US perspective) in decreasing the trade deficit and containing China’s growing economic and political power?  How will the trade war impact the economies of China, the US, and the rest of the world?

Killeen Wareham: What are the effects of caffeine on the teenage brain?

Annabell Schreier: How has tap dancing developed throughout its history?

Helen Dobbelmann: What is music therapy, who does it affect, and how does it work?

Rosa Broadhead: Is there a stigma of immigration in the U.S.and does it affect immigrants?

Joelle Peterson: What efforts are being made to find a realistic cure for HIV/AIDS and what steps are being taken in researching it?

Logan Meyer: Why do people tend to fail in the stock market?

Lily Linders: How can you use sports psychology to be more effective in sports and life?

Anastasia Setter: What is being done for the national population of Alzheimer’s patients in terms of daily care and quality of life?

Contact the Academic Office

Cheri Broadhead

Dan Vandermyde
Assistant Principal

Di Larson
Academic Assistant
763-571-9116 ext. 203

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