Heritage students gain national honor

National Merit Scholars in the library
Thirteen students were recognized for National Merit Scholar, National Hispanic Scholar and Perfect ACT in the Heritage library early this December.

Remember sitting in a chilly October classroom to take the PSAT? For twelve students in 2012, it was was the beginning of a long journey into the processes of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).

The NMSC’s mission is to recognize and encourage brilliant students with college aid, promote respect for learning and encourage private groups to sponsor scholarships.

On December 4, Heritage held a “National Merit Tea” to commemorate eleven students who did well enough on the 2012 PSAT test to be recognized by the NMSC. In addition and Abbie Bardales ’14 was recognized by College Board’s National Hispanic Recognition Program and Erik Gentile ’14 was commemorated for having a perfect score on the ACT.

During the tea, counselors introduced their students and shared a few facts about them. In order to recognize the contributions of others to the achievements of the scholars, each student recognized their parents as well as a teacher who was influential to their education.

“The best part was being able to honor teachers who helped,’’ explained Marc Thomson ’14.

The first level of recognition is “Commended Scholars,” or the 50,000 highest scores on either PSAT or the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT). In 2012, there were eight such students: Ethan Ellingboe ’14, Cameron Graves ’14, Kristina Hagman ’14, Marlena Hanne ’14, Emma Hecker ’14, Madeline Hodge ’14, Ethan Johnston ’14 and Meagan McLeod ’14.

Out of the 50,000 Commended Scholars, about 16,000 will receive the distinction “Semifinalist”. Heritage had three Semifinalists: Ashlen Lemon ’14, Robert Spofford ’14 and Marc Thomson ’14. In February, these students will find out if they are one of the 15,000 students elevated to “Finalist” standing; one step closer to being one of the 8,000 who receives a scholarship of $2,500 or other substantial financial aid.

All of this recognition reflects on Heritage as well. On the fourth, the school celebrated one of the largest groups of scholars in the past few years, demonstrating a high caliber of students currently attending Heritage.

“This is another example of why I am proud to talk about Heritage,” Counselor Laronda Lawson explains.

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