PHS grad named a National Merit Scholarship winner

FROM STAFF REPORTS

National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced over 3,500 winners, including a Pelham High School student, of National Merit Scholarships financed by U.S. colleges and universities.

Officials of each sponsor college selected their scholarship winners from among the Finalists in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program who plan to attend their institution. These awards provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution financing the scholarship.

PHS salutatorian Alex Wilkins, with a GPA of 4.3, received the National Merit University of Alabama Scholarship. By the end of her high school career, Wilkins had been offered more than $500,000 in scholarships. She plans to study chemical engineering at Alabama.

An additional group of Scholars will be announced in July, bringing the total number of college-sponsored Merit Scholarship recipients in the 2019 competition to about 4,100.

This year, 173 higher education institutions are underwriting Merit Scholarship awards through the National Merit Scholarship Program. Sponsor colleges and universities include 95 private and 78 public institutions located in 43 states and the District of Columbia.

The announcement is the third National Merit Scholar release in 2019 by National Merit Scholarship Corporation, which named recipients of corporate-sponsored awards on April 17 and winners of National Merit $2,500 Scholarships on May 8.

Additional recipients of college-sponsored awards will be announced on July 15. By the conclusion of this year’s competition, about 7,600 academic champions will have won National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million.

Over 1.6 million juniors in approximately 22,000 high schools entered the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program when they took the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. Last fall, approximately 16,000 Semifinalists were named on a state-representational basis in numbers proportional to each state’s percentage of the national total of graduating high school seniors. Semifinalists were the highest-scoring program entrants in each state and represented less than 1 percent of the nation’s seniors.

To compete for Merit Scholarship awards, Semifinalists first had to advance to the Finalist level of the competition by fulfilling additional requirements. Each Semifinalist was asked to submit a detailed scholarship application, which included writing an essay and providing information about extracurricular activities, awards, and leadership positions. Semifinalists also had to have an outstanding academic record, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, and earn SAT scores that confirmed the qualifying test performance. From the Semifinalist group, some 15,000 met requirements for Finalist standing, and about half of the Finalists will be Merit Scholarship winners in 2019.