National Merit Scholarship Corporation Awards More Money to CCSD Students

Staff Report From Charleston CEO

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

Last month, seven Charleston County School District scholars earned prestigious corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). Last week, seven more students from CCSD were named National Merit $2,500 Scholarship winners.

The NMSC announced 2,500 high school seniors (including 32 from South Carolina) were chosen from a talent pool of more than 15,000 “outstanding finalists” in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program.

The following CCSD students received 2018 corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarships:

Academic Magnet High School
Alexander P. Adragna
Trystan W. Knowles
Earl W. Navarro
Michael J. Pi

Wando High School

Samuel M. Caya
Andrew D. Inman
Caitlyn R. Van de Meulebroecke

“It is a pleasure and an honor to see these four Raptors receive a financial reward for their dedication to academics,” stated AMHS Principal Catherine Spencer.

“We are thankful for NMSC recognizing their ability and success, and look forward to seeing what Alexander, Earl, Michael, and Trystan accomplish in college and beyond.”

This group of winners were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors, who appraised a substantial amount of information submitted by both the finalists and their high schools.

Criteria for the award included: the academic record (including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned), scores from two standardized tests, contributions and leadership in school and community activities, an essay written by the finalist, and a recommendation written by a high school official.

“Sam, Andrew, and Caitlyn are perfect examples of students dedicated to excellence,” WHS Principal Sherry Eppelsheimer explained. “They are thoughtful, organized, and knowledgeable in a wide range of subjects. These students truly walk the Warrior Way. Congratulations to all of them for this honor!”

NMSC finances most of the single-payment National Merit $2,500 Scholarships. Corporations and company foundations that sponsor awards through NMSC also help underwrite these scholarships with grants they provide in lieu of paying administrative fees. Scholars may use their awards at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university.

According to the NMSC, more than 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2018 National Merit Scholarship competition when they took the 2016 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. In September 2017, 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 one percent of the nation’s seniors.

By the conclusion of the 2018 competition, about 7,500 Finalists will have been selected to receive National Merit Scholarships totaling over $31 million.