Wells High School Senior Becomes National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist

Post date: Sep 21, 2012 7:27:18 PM

Wells High School senior Zoë Onion has learned that she is a Semifinalist in the 58th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. She achieved semifinalist status by scoring highly on the 2011 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test or PSAT/NMSQT.

Annually, 1.5 million high school juniors and seniors throughout the United States take this standardized test. Based upon test results, 16,000 are selected to become Semifinalists.

Semifinalists have the opportunity to compete over the coming months to be among the 15,000 Finalists selected in the spring to qualify for over 8,300 National Merit Scholarships, worth more than $34 million.

“About 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and more than half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title,” stated a press release from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

“First, it’s great to have this opportunity available for students and second it is great to be recognized for all the work I have put in through the years,” said Onion about becoming a Semifinalist.

At Wells High School Onion is on the Math Team, school newspaper, and Student Council. In addition she participates in the jazz, marching (this year she is a drum major) and concert bands and plays piano for the school chorus. She also plays on a softball team at school in the spring. Currently, she is in the cast rehearsing for the upcoming fall play at WHS, And Then There Were None.

Onion says that she has not decided on a college to attend after high school but says that she would like to study Molecular Biology and do research. In the summer of 2012, Onion inspected incoming boats in Mount Vernon Maine for invasive species such as milfoil and hydra.

“We’ve been very lucky to have several students qualify each year in the National Merit Scholarship Program,” said secretary to WHS Principal Jim Daly, Lil Lagasse.

The National Merit Scholarship Program is administered by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation of Evanston, Illinois. It is a non-profit corporation established in 1955. Scholarship money awarded by the NMSC comes largely from corporate and college sponsorship.