On September 14, it was announced that 43 Manual students are semifinalists for National Merit. Manual is ranked first in the state for National Merit scholarship in public schools, and 14th in the nation.
There are about 22,000 high schools whose students take the PSAT, but only 1% of these students end up being National Merit scholars.
To qualify, students had to take the PSAT, a nationally standardized test, in October of their junior year. Doing well on this test determined whether students would qualify for scholarship.
Administrators weren’t surprised that so many students were National Merit scholars this year, because at Manual, the number consistently stays about this high. But they were still proud of students who qualified.
“Every day when I walk into Manual I am stunned by the surrounding students, and that day I was extremely proud to announce the National Merit scholars,” Mr. Larry Wooldridge (Principal) said. “So much about Manual is a legacy, and we make our school more impressive when we have 43 National Merit scholars attending our school. It makes the incoming students want to come to Manual even more.”
“These students that are National Merit scholars have to want to qualify, as well as their parents, and all of these students have worked hard to get their scores up to par,” Ms. Amy Medley (Counseling) said.
The benefit of National Merit status is that students have a chance at getting National Merit scholarships to colleges and universities, though not all schools provide these scholarships. This can change some students’ options for colleges.
“I took a PSAT class at the beginning of junior year, and that helped me improve my score for when the real test came along,” Bennett Heine (12) said. “My parents were happy because being a National Merit scholar helps out with college scholarships.”
For some semifinalists, a benefit of their scores was their parents’ reactions.
“I was excited when I found out that I had qualified to be a National Merit scholar, because my sophomore year my score wasn’t necessarily high enough to qualify. My parents said that they had always believed that I was capable of achieving this goal,” Maggie Heine (12) said.
Manual’s goal for next year, according to Ms. Medley, is to have 50 National Merit scholars at Manual. She feels that even more students have the capability to reach National Merit status, though 43 is itself a high number.
Erian is a junior at duPont Manual in CMA and a staff writer for RedEye.