10 Shelby County students announced as National Merit Scholarship winners

Ten students across various High Schools in Shelby County were announced as National Merit Scholarship winners on June 1. (Contributed)

Ten students across various High Schools in Shelby County were announced as National Merit Scholarship winners on June 1. (Contributed)

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

Ten students across various high schools throughout Shelby County were recognized on June 1 as the winners of the National Merit Scholarship, in which approximately 3,000 students are honored nationally.

Spain Park High School led the county with six overall National Merit Scholarship winners, followed by Oak Mountain High School, Indian Springs School, Briarwood Christian High School and Helena High School who each had one winner.

“National Merit Scholarships are sponsored by U.S. colleges and universities and the awards provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution financing the scholarship,” according to the national merit press release.

The scholarship winners selected from Shelby County are as follows:

  • Stanley G. Badio, Spain Park High School–Probable career field: Politics. Sponsored by the University of Chicago.
  • Christopher D. Breaux, Spain Park High School–Probable career field: Mechanical Engineering. Sponsored by Arizona State University.
  • Jacob G. Elkins, Oak Mountain High School–Probable career field: Astronautics. Sponsored by the University of Alabama.
  • Katherine Hunter, Spain Park High School–Probable career field: Chemical Engineering. Sponsored by Auburn University.
  • William C. McMeans, Helena High School–Probable career field: Undecided. Sponsored by the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
  • Michael T. O’Malley, Indian Springs School–Probable career field: Acting. Sponsored by the University of Southern California.
  • Connor M. Pelham, Briarwood Christian High School–Probable career field: Chemical Engineering. Sponsored by Auburn University.
  • Stephen C. Ritchey, Spain Park High School–Probable career field: Entrepreneurship. Sponsored by the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
  • Peyton A. Spencer, Spain Park High School–Probable career field: Software Engineering. Sponsored by Auburn University.
  • Blair Major Williams, Spain Park High School–Probable career field: Mechanical Engineering. Sponsored by Auburn University.

Of the approximate 3,000 students chosen nationwide, 98 winners were from the state of Alabama.

The National Merit Scholarship applicants first had to participate in a preliminary qualifying PSAT/NMSQT test.

Approximately 16,000 students were named semifinalists after the preliminary test based on high test scores, an outstanding academic record and an endorsement by a high school official. Semifinalists were the highest-scoring program entrants in each state and represented less than one percent of the nation’s seniors.

The winners were then chosen after submitting a detailed scholarship application, which included writing an essay and providing information about extracurricular activities, awards and leadership positions, according to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

An additional group of Merit Scholarship winners will be announced in July, bringing the total number of college-sponsored Merit Scholarship recipients to approximately 4,000.