3 Seniors Named Prestigious Scholarship Finalists

Students Announced As National Merit Scholars


    In September 2021, seniors Austin Marrah, Rachel Riley and Logan Williams were announced as National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists. This month, all three were named National Merit Scholarship Finalists.

     Each year, high schoolers around the country compete for the National Merit Scholarship. To be deemed a semifinalist, students are required to earn a qualifying score on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test their junior year. Semifinalists consist of fewer than 1% of all high school seniors in the country.

     Once they are announced as a semifinalist, they fill out an application that includes an essay, a list of their extracurricular activities, an outstanding academic record and a teacher recommendation. As well, they must have a high score on another standardized test such as the SAT or ACT.

     Now, Marrah, Riley and Williams have the possibility of winning one of 2,500 National Merit Scholarships worth $2,500. Additionally, being a finalist qualifies students for college-sponsored National Merit Scholarships, which helps pay for the majority of their tuition.

     Marrah plans to attend the University of Missouri to study biochemistry.

     “It really has been the biggest goal for me in these past couple years,” Marrah said. “To finally have it on paper that I got it, I’m real happy. The scholarship itself I didn’t start working toward until the quarantine period of COVID when I actually learned about it, but I’ve been doing test prep roughly since freshman year, so that really contributed to it.”

     Riley is undecided on college but said she is leaning toward the University of Missouri. She plans to study geography.

     “It’s something I’m very grateful for,” Riley said. “It’s something that a year or two ago, I wouldn’t have expected at all, but it’s something that is covering a lot of my money for college. It’s really nice and helpful, and I feel like I have a lot of opportunities moving forward. I have a lot of hope for the future because of it.”

     Williams plans to go to the University of Missouri and study in the field of health professions.

     “I won’t have to worry as much about scholarships moving forward,” Williams said. “I’m able to just relax and rest easy that the next four years of college will be completely free. I can focus more on myself rather than money, and more on getting the most out of college education-wise than stressing out about paying for it afterward.”