Gatton Academy Seniors Named National Merit Semifinalists
- Author: Lynette Breedlove
- Author: Thursday, September 10th, 2020
Twenty-two seniors from The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky have been recognized as semifinalists in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Competition.
Since The Gatton Academy’s inception in 2007, a total of 183 students have been named National Merit Semifinalists. 86 current Gatton Academy seniors took the PSAT, meaning 25.6 percent of students achieved the National Merit Semifinalist level.
The 2020-2021 National Merit Semifinalists from The Gatton Academy are:
- Sachi Barnaby (Bowling Green High School) of Bowling Green
- Samuel Chang (Bowling Green High School) of Bowling Green
- Nicholas Clevenger (Paul L. Dunbar High School) of Lexington
- Andrew Davison (Rowan County High School) of Morehead
- John Dumancic (Larry A. Ryle High School) of Union
- Sofia Farmer (Danville High School) of Danville
- Benjamin Handshoe (Hazard High School) of Hazard
- Krupa Hegde (Larry A. Ryle High School) of Union
- Calvin Higdon (Daviess County High School) of Philpot
- Gloria Huang (South Warren High School) of Bowling Green
- Cody Humphrey (Spencer County High School) of Mount Eden
- Margaret Jones (duPont Manual High School) of Louisville
- Raychel Kool (Campbell County High School) of California
- Steven Reid Lunsford (Elizabethtown High School) of Elizabethtown
- Joseph Lyvers (Bardstown High School) of Loretto
- Keegan Pendleton (Hopkinsville High School) of Hopkinsville
- Mina Ryumae (Larry A. Ryle High School) of Union
- Anmol Sandhu (Bowling Green High School) of Bowling Green
- Diksha Satish (Western Hills High School) of Frankfort
- Alexandra “Sasha” Taylor (Dixie Heights High School) of Crestview Hills
- Lauren Taylor (Campbell County High School) of Cold Spring
- Jason Zhang (Bowling Green High School) of Bowling Green
More than 1.5 million juniors entered the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as the initial screen of program entrants. From this list comes the nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, and includes the highest scoring entrants in each state. The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.
“It is important to recognize these remarkable young people for this accomplishment and also acknowledge they have many strengths beyond their test scores. These students contribute to the Gatton Academy’s community and their home communities in innumerable ways,” stated Dr. Lynette Breedlove, Director of The Gatton Academy. “I commend their sending school districts who have worked hard to provide the students with solid foundations.”
Since students take the qualifying PSAT exam in October of their junior year of high school, much of their preparation stems from learning opportunities during their freshman and sophomore years of high school. The Gatton Academy builds on those experiences to provide students with a robust application and preparation for the SAT, a critical component in becoming a finalist.
From the approximately 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level. To become a Finalist, a Semifinalist and their school must submit a detailed scholarship application, which provides information about the Semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout their high school career, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, and write an essay.
Finalists will be announced in February, and all National Merit Scholarship winners for 2021 will be announced in four nationwide releases beginning in April and concluding in July.
About the National Merit Scholarship Program: Established in 1955, National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) is an independent, not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance. NMSC conducts the National Merit® Scholarship Program and the National Achievement® Scholarship Program–annual competitions for recognition and college undergraduate scholarships. The honors awarded by NMSC to exceptionally able students are viewed as definitive marks of excellence. Recipients of Merit Scholarship® awards, Achievement Scholarship® awards, and corporate-sponsored Special Scholarships have increased the nation’s respect for intellectual accomplishments and have contributed significantly to its talent pool of future leaders.
About The Gatton Academy: Established in 2007, The Gatton Academy is Kentucky’s first residential two-year program for gifted and talented junior and seniors. The Gatton Academy’s students enroll as juniors and are full-time WKU students pursuing their interests in advanced science, technology, engineering and mathematical careers. The Gatton Academy has been named to Jay Mathews’ list of top-performing schools with elite students for ten consecutive appearances.