Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Highlands Students Named National Merit Scholarship Finalists

(left to right) Molly Mearns, Daniel Peale, Ellie Farley.
Highlands High School seniors Gabrielle (Ellie) Farley, Mary (Molly) Mearns and Daniel Peale have been named finalists in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program.

About 1.5 million current high school seniors took the PSAT in October of their junior year. Of these students, about 16,000 gain scores that qualify them as semifinalists (a little more than 1%), and this group is then narrowed down to 15,000, who become finalists.

To become a finalist, a semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the high school principal, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test. The semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, which includes the student’s essay and information about the semifinalist’s participation and leadership in school and community activities.


Approximately 90% of semifinalists advanced to the finalist level; from this group, all National Merit Scholarship winners will be chosen. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference. All finalists are considered for National Merit Scholarships offered in 2016.

Trinity Walsh, Highlands High School guidance counselor, stated, “We are very proud to have three of our seniors named as National Merit Finalists. Ms. Farley, Ms. Mearns and Mr. Peale are still making final college decisions, but all three have some wonderful choices, and we feel confident that they will continue to accomplish great things in college and in life.”

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