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Clarion Area Senior Selected As National Merit Scholarship Finalist

Thursday, March 14, 2019 @ 08:03 AM

Posted by Ron Wilshire

U6+dbGUfTm2I4kp92OBNYgCLARION, Pa. (EYT) – Sarah E. Touster, a senior at Clarion Area High School, was recognized on Tuesday night at the Clarion Area School Board for being selected as a National Merit Scholarship Finalist.

[PHOTO: Sarah Touster is pictured with her father Jonathan (on left) and Principal John Kimmell.]

Only 15,000 students are chosen as finalists nationwide.

“I just wanted to thank you guys, and coming to Clarion has given me the foundation to achieve this,” Sarah said to the school board.

A plaque will honor her in the school hallway.

Obviously a top academic student at Clarion, Sarah even spent six weeks last summer in South Korea learning Korean through the State Department.

John Kimmell, principal of Clarion Area Junior-Senior High School, presented some background on the award and qualifications.

“Each year of about 1.6 million students take the PSAT/NMSQT exam which is utilized to determine eligibility for the National Merit Scholarship,” said Kimmell. “Of the 1.6 million students testing, about one percent are chosen as semi-finalists who move on for consideration. Approximately 15,000 students are chosen as finalists nationwide. To be eligible, students must be enrolled as a high school student, progressing normally toward graduation, planning to enroll full-time in college starting the fall following high school graduation, and must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident planning to become a U.S. citizen.”

“Students wishing to be eligible for the scholarship must submit their transcript for review, an application detailing his or her involvement in activities, community participation, and active leadership roles, along with an array of high quality an essay of high quality.”

“In addition, candidates must take the SAT and score approximately 1400 or above by December 31 of the student’s senior year to show consistency in performance. The candidate must receive a recommendation from the high school principal information concerning the school’s curriculum and grading system must also be submitted for consideration. The candidate’s GPA must be 3.5 or higher for consideration.”

“PSAT cut off scores change yearly and vary by state. Scores are compiled by adding the math, reading, and writing and language scores together and multiplying them by two to get a composite score. In 2017, the selection index score averaged 218. Students in Pennsylvania had to cut a score of 220 to be eligible, which is slightly above the national average score.”

A final decision on the actual National Merit Scholarship will be made in several months, but being selected as a finalist often opens doors for scholarships at prestigious universities.

“Well done,” said Superintendent Joe Carrico.  “We’re all proud of you.”

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