National Merit names scholars


Photo by Carlie Clem

National Merit Semifinalists Courtandt Bursey-Reece receives a congratulatory handshake from principal Brad Bailey.

Story by Maggie Coleman, feature editor

Seniors Ben Norton and Cortlandt Bursey-Reece have been named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists along with three more senior students, Kristen Hall, John Portwood and Joshua Robinson as Commended National Merit Scholars.

Bursey-Reece, while still honored to get the title, doubted his ability to become a semi-finalist. He never could’ve imagined even coming this far and is grateful to be apart of the group of students who are recognized as some of the smartest kids in the country.

“It was a huge shock when I found out,” Bursey-Reece said. “I didn’t think I would be selected for it. I took the SAT and didn’t do very well on it. I thought the PSAT and SAT would be proportional, but I just did much better on this. It feels really great knowing that I have that opportunity.”

Norton is also proud of the accomplishment. He realizes how rare it is to even become a semi-finalist, especially since the score to become one was higher than past years.

“I’m really honored to be a semi-finalist,” Norton said. “I’m excited to see if I can hopefully get finalist, so we’ll just have to see.”

Both students are hopeful of the future and are excited to see what it holds in store. They are anticipating the announcement of the finalists in February which will then allow them to be advanced to qualify for the actual title of National Merit Scholar.

“I filled out the application to become a finalist,” Bursey-Reece said. “I also have to write an essay, submit my grades and recommendation letters. Now we just have to wait for the results.”