National standout is from Morgan

Published 11:35 pm Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rachel Sherrer, a senior at John T. Morgan Academy, is the only National Merit Semifianlist in Selma. -- Tim Reeves photo

Rachel Sherrer found out at a John T. Morgan Academy afternoon assembly.

“I wasn’t expecting it at all,” Sherrer said. “My principal actually announced it at the beginning of a pep rally.”

Sherrer, a senior at Morgan Academy, is the only semifinalist from Selma to be eligible for the National Merit Scholarship Program for 2011. She qualified by scoring a 228 out of 240 on the Preliminary SAT/ National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, PSAT/NMST, which also placed her in the top 1 percent of students in the state.

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“It’s a pretty big honor because it starts with about 1.5 million students in about 22,000 high schools that enter the program every year by taking the PSAT/NMSQT,” said Eileen Artemakis, director of public information with the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

To become a finalist, Sherrer must submit a transcript or record of consistently high academic performance; SAT score; essay; information of activities, awards, leadership and employment; endorsement from school and a characterization and recommendation letter and academic record of the school’s curricula and grading system.

About 16,000 semifinalists will advance to finalist level.

Sherrer made a 35 on the ACT and a 1520 out of 1600 and 2280 out of 2400 on the SAT, but is modest about her academics.

“I definitely do study and do my best in school, even if I guess that may be one of my natural gifts, but I definitely still have to work hard at that,” Sherrer said.

Finalists may receive one of 8,400 scholarships: 2,500 National Merit $2,500 scholarships, corporate-sponsored scholarships or awards for finalists from the college or university the student will attend.

Sherrer has not decided where she will attend college in the fall, but has narrowed it down to Vanderbilt University, Wake Forest University, Duke University and the University of Alabama.

Scholarship winners will be announced in April.