Acknowledging their achievements

Seniors recognized by the National Merit Scholarship organization for school successes

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Story by Cate Rounds, editor in chief

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation has recently named seniors Jenna and Kate Woodard as semifinalists in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program. Out of 1.5 million applicants across the United States, only 16,000 individuals were chosen as the semifinalists.

“I was really excited,” Jenna said. “They told me I was right on the edge, so I wasn’t sure if I was gonna make it or not with my score. But then [Mrs. Dupree and Mrs. Stark] came in and told us during class. It was really cool.”

Students qualify for the National merit semi finalist recognition based on their PSAT/NMSQT score. They now have the opportunity to become National Merit Finalists, which requires a more in-depth look into the student’s academic record.

“There’s an application you fill out that has recommendations from teachers, your school transcripts, and [other academic achievements] so the foundation knows you continue to be a hardworking student throughout your senior year,” Kate said. “[It is put into place to make sure] that this one test wasn’t just a fluke. You’ve been working hard your whole high school career, and you deserve to be recognized for that.”

The National Merit Scholarship offers three types of scholarships to be awarded to 7,600 students for up to $10,000 a year. Being a finalist or a semifinalist comes with its own rewards when it comes to the college application process. 

“It’s definitely going to make us stand out to colleges,” Jenna said. “The scholarship would be great, but the recognition shows that we are great students.”

Shortly after the Woodards had been granted their title, senior Zane Johnston was also recognized by the organization as a National Commended Scholar for his achievements throughout his high school career.

National Merit Finalists will be announced February of 2021. Until then, the National Merit Semifinalists will keep working to boost their academic resumes in order to secure those spots. Whether the Woodards secure these finalist spots or not, there is certainly a bright future ahead for those worthy of national recognition like themselves.

“It’s cool to be recognized,” Kate said. “There are always those classes where you think you don’t have to do as much in, but it really pays off to keep [working]. Now it [really] is paying off.”