Petal’s Holman named National Merit Finalist


Petal High School senior Gracie Holman has been named a National Merit Scholar Finalist by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Holman, who was selected from more than 16,000 semifinalists in the 63rd annual National Merit Scholarship Program, will compete later this year for about 7,500 available $2,500 National Merit Scholarships.

“I was beyond excited when I heard the news,” said Holman, who is the daughter of Melissa and Michael Holman. “Being a semi-finalist and being named finalist are very different things.

“It opened up a whole new world of possibilities, and I felt extremely honored.”

Holman holds a 4.25 GPA and a score of 32 on the ACT, and is a member of the Beta Club, French Club and Mu Alpha Theta. She recently received the Presidential Scholarship with Distinction from Mississippi College, and plans to attend there as a pre-med or biological studies major.

Holman said she’ll most miss Petal’s sense of community when she leaves for college.

“Though college is a community, I don’t think that any community is quite like Petal,” she said. The teachers and counselors here know me by name and care about my individual well-being over just grades and test scores.

“I’m so proud to be able to graduate from the top school in the state. Being able to say that I made it through 13 years of this school district makes me feel so much more prepared for college than I would have felt otherwise.”

Matthew Dillon, superintendent of the Petal School District, said he’s proud of Holman and her achievements.

“It’s very special,” he said. “To have one of our own be named a finalist is an amazing accomplishment. We’re very proud of Gracie and very proud for her parents.”

Other Pine Belt National Merit Scholarship Finalists include John Perry of Purvis High School, August Sohbian Thriffiley of Sacred Heart Catholic High School and Hannah Cantrell, Julianna Hinton and Ryan Davis, all of Oak Grove High School.