Two students from Presbyterian Christian School have been chosen as semifinalists for the National Merit Scholarship, part of a group of 16,000 students around the country who will compete for the $2,500 scholarships offered by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation each year.
School officials recently announced that Will Brett and Sarah Spencer – who are both in the class of 2021 – have been named semifinalists, which makes a total of 55 PCS students who have been named National Merit Scholars since 2000.
“These students are not only incredibly bright, but they have exemplified an unyielding work ethic,” PCS Headmaster Allen Smithers said. “I pray that with God’s grace, they will continue to do great things in the years ahead. We are all so proud of their contributions to the PCS legacy of truth, honor and loyalty.”
Brett is the son of Greg and Anna Laura Brett and is in his fourth year at PCS. He plans on majoring in data science in college and eventually to go into the field of sports analytics.
“It’s truly an honor; it is a realization of the work that I have put in,” Brett said. “I want to thank my family, especially my parents, for always pushing me to try my hardest. I also want to thank all of the teachers that have taught me for instilling in me a passion for learning.”
Spencer is the daughter of Sarah and the late Barton Spencer and is in her 13th year at PCS. She plans to attend the University of Mississippi to study pre-nursing and creative writing and hopes to pursue a career in both fields.
“When I had Mrs. Brown for algebra, she was always giving us advice about testing strategies, classes to take, and things to know for college,” Spencer said. “That information has really helped me during the past few years. I’m also grateful to her for introducing me to a lot of the math that shows up on standardized tests, since math is my hardest subject.
“I would like to thank my mom for supporting me and encouraging me to do the best I can. I would also like to thank Mrs. Kayla Farris and Ms. Kalie Taylor for giving us all such great help with our academic and pre-college needs.”
Each year the National Merit Scholarship Corporation identifies students across the United States who have scored at a very high level on the Preliminary SAT and National Merit Scholarship qualifying test as semifinalists. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than one percent of United States high school seniors, includes the highest scoring entrants in each state.
Qualifying scores vary from state to state and from year to year, but the scores of all semifinalists are extremely high.
Approximately 2 million high school students across the country apply each year for the National Merit Scholarship Program. In February, approximately 15,000 semifinalists are notified by mail at their home addresses that they have advanced to finalist standing. High school principals are notified and provided with a Certificate of Merit to present to each finalist.
Finalists will compete for about 7,500 available $2,500 National Merit Scholarships.
“As a National Merit semifinalist, students have the opportunity to gain scholarships to four-year colleges and universities,” PCS counselor Kalie Taylor said. “To name a few, the University of Mississippi’s scholarship is valued at $14,068 yearly, the University of Alabama offers the Presidential Scholarship valued at $28,000 and the University of Southern Mississippi's scholarship is equivalent to tuition for four years.
“On Feb. 1, 2021, students will be notified if they qualified for finalist. I am so proud of both Will and Sarah for all the hard work they invested to secure this honor. They have bright futures ahead.”