National Merit Scholar Finalists

Story by Bailee Council – Staff Reporter


  Once a year, the National Merit Scholarship Program selects about 15,000 students in the US to become National Merit finalists. Since 1955, this huge academic accomplishment allows students the opportunity to win a $2,500 single payment scholarship. Entering the competition, students must take the Pre-SAT their junior year and simply be enrolled and attending a high school in the United States or the District of Columbia. 

   There are a lot of things you can do to be put on the path of winning or becoming a National Merit finalist here at LSN. For example, taking the Pre-ACT class that the school offers. 

   “Rigorous courses and challenging yourself, push yourself academically, reading at a young age and continuing that from elementary through your high school career,” Jeff Meisenheimer, principal, said. 

   This year at LSN, there are three Merit Finalists: Lena Baker, James Moore, and Bella Washburn, all three being seniors.

   “A chance to get more money for college, it’s a cool opportunity to be recognized, and a chance for other scholarships,” Lena Baker, senior, said.

   Already getting into the college of her choice of school, Smith College in Massachusetts, Baker has been working hard for all four years of high school and is getting the recognition she has been waiting for. 

   “It is a manifestation of how hard I’ve worked in school, working really hard on everything from projects to homework, it’s like a reflection of all my hard work,” Baker said.

   Bella Washburn is a senior who has stayed open-minded and positive throughout this accomplishment.

   “It’s good to see a concrete recognition of achievements. I’m pretty against standardized testing because I feel like it doesn’t necessarily reflect intelligence. But it is nice that throughout all the standardized tests, to think that all that work paid off and it ended up doing something in the end,” Washburn said.

   It is an amazing feeling to know that all the work you put into something, even if you didn’t get an immediate grade, was not all for nothing. Washburn is hoping to major in art history.

   “I’m really big in art history so it’s the path I’ve been going, I’ve also been looking into working within a museum,” Washburn said.

   The last finalist here at LSN is James Moore, who has a hope to attend the University of Alabama with an interest in becoming an aerospace engineer.

   “I think the biggest thing is the set of accomplishments, it’s going to help me get to college which for me has been a big deal because it’s something that I’ve valued,” Moore said.

   Enjoying the opportunities that this scholar award has opened in terms of college, Moore has accomplished so much within his time here at LSN and has worked hard to get to where he is. 

   In the end, all three of these students have brought their accomplishments to the spotlight and are getting some well-deserved recognition. With big goals and dreams, these students are set out to do great things and accomplish even more in the years ahead. 


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