The Edmond Sun

March 8, 2013

6 Heritage Hall seniors named National Merit Finalists


Special to The Sun

OKLA. CITY — Six of Heritage Hall’s 90 seniors were recognized as Merit Finalists by the National Merit Scholarship Program. They are Alyssa Bayless, Ryan Hagood, Ashley Mandanas, Wade Newville, Bailey Surtees and Carson Yates.

“This year’s group of National Merit Finalists is a testament to the versatility and balance to which we strive for in our students. These students not only excel in the academic arena, but also outside of that realm in a variety of activities. We could not be more pleased with this year’s finalists,” said upper school division head Keith Cassell.

Adding to Cassell’s accolades, Nick Carter, assistant head of school for educational affairs, said these finalists exemplify the type of student able to affect change in today’s world.

“More than ever in a world that demands us to direct and harness relentless growth and change, it is our motivated scholars who will best discern areas of critical need that can benefit all humans, who will identify the means to implement innovation and who will arouse the necessary resources to make progress possible. Our elite scholars are entrusted with uniting arts, science, and economics so that humankind does not merely adapt, but evolves. It starts here,” Carter said.

National Merit recognition begins with the identification of 50,000 students (from 1.5 million students nationwide) achieving top scores on the PSAT assessment. Of those, 16,000 semifinalists are chosen based on having a score in the top 1 percent in their state.

To advance from semifinalist to finalist, a student and his/her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application substantiating the student’s outstanding academic record throughout high school, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, and honors and awards received. The student must submit a high school official’s written endorsement, write an essay and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test. About 15,000 finalists are identified nationwide.

From among this pool of finalists, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation will award 2,500 National Merit Scholarships worth $2,500; finalists are also eligible for National Merit scholarships sponsored by foundations, professional associations, businesses and corporations, and colleges and universities.