NHS senior named National Merit Finalist
By Jana Copeland
Friday, Feb. 8, was a special day in Nashville.
Jonathon Lance, a senior at Nashville High School, was named a National Merit Scholarship Finalist.
He found out by walking into the office of high school counselor Kelli Webb to ask about a different scholarship.
She had received a letter from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation and assumed that he had also received a letter. Before he could ask the question he had walked to her office to ask about the other scholarship, she asked him whether or not he had received a letter in the mail.
“Confused, I told her that I had not. She then asked whether or not I had received a letter about my being named a National Merit Finalist, to which I responded that I had not, to my knowledge,” Lance said.
He did not want to forget what it was that he had come to ask her, so he stopped her at a break in the conversation and asked his question.
After she answered, he asked her to clarify what she had said earlier. “So, you mean that I’m a National Merit Finalist?” Lance asked.
“Yes!” Webb answered.
“No achievement is won alone. My name might have been on the certificate for this award, but many people were involved in helping me to realize its fulfillment, and I am thankful for them. I have lived in Nashville for my entire life. This award proves that this school and this community have what it takes to achieve academic victories on a national scale. I look forward to seeing Nashville and Nashville schools repeat their achievement many times over in the years to come,” Lance said.
Out of the 1.5 million students who take the PSAT/NMSQT (Pre-SAT), 16,000 are recognized as National Merit Semifinalists. Of that number, 8,300 students are named National Merit Finalists and receive the National Merit Scholarships.
Not only do the students get the Merit Scholarship, but some schools even offer semifinalists and finalists’ scholarships of different amounts depending on the school.
Private corporations for whom semifinalists, finalists, or their parents work sometimes provide scholarships to their workers or their dependents who are semifinalists and finalists.
A third group of scholarships is offered by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.
“Hopefully, since I won this award, other youth in this community will be encouraged to learn and to grow academically. Maybe, in the halls of Nashville schools, several more National Merit Scholars are walking around. I hope that my story may encourage them to strive to reach their goals, and perhaps, many more Scrappers will be National Merit Finalists,” Lance said.
A Scrapper Moment
By John R. Schirmer
“We like to talk about Scrapper Moments. We like to say that it’s a great day to be a Scrapper. Well, this is over the top,” Superintendent Doug Graham said Monday morning about senior Jonathon Lance’s selection as a National Merit Finalist.
“In my 22 years here, I’m not aware of any Merit Finalists during that time,” Graham told a room full of Lance’s friends, family and teachers.
“We congratulate you, and we celebrate with you,” Graham said to Lance. “No one is more deserving. We have lots to celebrate academically. Your family has put a priority on academics from day one.”
Principal Tate Gordon said it was “time to celebrate” during a reception for Lance in the high school library. “We all know how hard he works and his accomplishments up to this point. He’s done a great job.”
Out of 16,000 Merit Semifinalists, 8,300 were named National Merit Finalists. The award qualifies the recipient for a full college scholarship at all Arkansas colleges and many others throughout the nation.
“Saying this is a great accomplishment is an understatement,” Graham said. “To be a Merit Finalist is astonishing.”