Six National Merit Semifinalists Represent Avon

By Jakob Gates| Reporter

Seniors Alexandria Adkins, Megan Hammond, Nathan Heim, Geoffrey Henderson, Austin Mock and Zachary Monroe were all named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholar competition in late September of this year. The six tied the most semifinalists in Avon High School history.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation recognizes students based on their scores on the national PSAT test, which is meant to be a practice exam for the SAT.

Heim said that he is delighted that he was recognized with the award, especially because of the extra opportunities the award carries with it.

“It really is an honor,” Heim said. “I’m so grateful for this chance to represent my school and gain some beneficial scholarship money.”

Henderson agreed with Heim’s sentiments, but said that his parents have given him a lot to live up to as well.

“I’m pretty proud, but I’m like the second generation since my mother got it as well, so it’s definitely a lot to live up to,” Henderson said.

Henderson said that he is also looking for scholarship opportunities that come with being named a semifinalist.

“My top choice right now is Oklahoma,” Henderson said. “For National Merit finalists they offer a package of 130,00 dollars, [which] I think it is a full ride.”

Heim, Henderson, and Monroe all scored in the upper 1400’s on a scale of 1520. Monroe thought that had he been more prepared, he could have had an even better score.

“I could’ve done better,” Monroe said. “I had forgotten all about [the test], I never studied, and I went to bed at 1:00 the night before and didn’t eat anything the morning of the test.”

Henderson said that he was slightly more prepared, but that he made sure not to be too stressed going into the test, so that he could be calm and focused during the test.

“I wasn’t really nervous,” Henderson said. “If you stress about [tests], it just makes them worse. As high school students, we have enough to stress about, I don’t think standardized tests should be something we stress about.”

Henderson said that this is something students who are taking the PSAT should think about as well.

“Don’t stress about it,” Henderson said. “Don’t put it off till the last minute, but get a good night’s sleep and relax. Those are the two most important things you can do for a standardized test.”

Heim said that while calmness is important, you should make sure to prepare for the test as well, as any score improvement could help your chances of being named a semifinalist.

“If you genuinely think you have a chance at being a National Merit Scholar, put in the extra effort to perfect all your test taking skills,” Heim said. “It may not yield any major score improvements, but even a 10-point increase could make all the difference on the world.”

Monroe agreed with Heim, saying that studying for the test will give you an edge when taking the test.

“Studying for standardized tests doesn’t really make you more intelligent, but it makes you more aware of their question types and how to respond to them in a timely manner,” Monroe said.

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