Two Thompson students named National Merit Scholarship finalists

Published 4:42 pm Monday, February 21, 2022

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By SCOTT MIMS | Special to the Reporter

ALABASTER — Thompson High School seniors Abigail McGee and Ryan Furlong both were named National Merit Scholarship finalists for 2022.

Furlong and McGee were previously among approximately16,000 semifinalists nationwide in the 67th annual program. Only about 7,600 outstanding finalists will be chosen as Merit Scholarship winners in this year’s competition.

Being recognized as a National Merit Finalist is based on several factors, including a student’s academic record, the high school’s recommendation of the finalist, a student essay, extracurricular activities and scores on the PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test).

“I’m feeling so excited,” McGee said upon learning the news. “This is going to open so many doors that I’ve been hoping would be open in terms of college and scholarships. I’ve been, like, praying about this, and I’m just so excited that this moment finally came.”

“I’m very glad; this has answered a lot of questions for me,” Furlong said. “I’ve been stressing for the past two weeks knowing it was coming soon. I was hoping I would get it, but I wasn’t entirely confident, so I’m very relieved.”

THS College Counselor Pam Vickers congratulated the students on their achievements as well.

“We are so pleased that Abby and Ryan were named National Merit Finalists,” she said. “This is a fitting result of their hard work, dedication and perseverance. In addition to the lucrative scholarship opportunities they will receive from colleges across the country, they will also compete for more than 7,500 corporate-sponsored merit scholarship awards.”

As finalists, Furlong and McGee will work with a high school official on a scholarship application that includes details about their academic record, community and school involvement, leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards.

The finalists must also be recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT or ACT scores that confirm their performance on the qualifying test.

For more information about the scholarship program, visit