Cb5w7z9WIAA6eaGSenior Haley Todd can now add two more items to her long list of accomplishments.

In February Haley was named a National Merit Scholar FINALIST – one of only 15,000 students in the country. The National Merit Scholarship Program is a nation-wide academic scholarship competition.

To be considered for a National Merit Scholarship, Semifinalists have to fulfill requirements to advance to Finalist standing. Each Semifinalist submits a scholarship application, including essays, extracurricular achievements, awards, and leadership positions. Semifinalists also have to have an outstanding academic record, be endorsed and recommended by a school official, and earn SAT scores that confirm their qualifying test performance. From the Semifinalist group, a certain number of students, varying from year to year, advance to Finalist standing depending on the above criteria. By the conclusion of the competition, a select group of Finalists are chosen to receive prestigious National Merit Scholarships totaling nearly $35 million. Winners are the Finalist candidates judged to have the strongest combination of academic skills and achievements, extracurricular accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous university studies. Scholarship winners represent fewer than 1% of the initial pool of student entrants, based on official statistics released by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Later in the same month, recognized for achieving academic excellence, Haley was selected as the 2016 PAGE STAR Student for Mount Vernon Presbyterian School. The announcement was made by Julie Goldberg, President of the Midtown Atlanta Rotary Club, local sponsor of the Fulton County STAR program. Haley selected Mr. Trey Boden, teacher of Transformational Leadership and Praise Band, as her STAR teacher. “We are very proud of Ms. Todd and Mr. Boden and the academic excellence they exemplify at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School. We are thrilled to recognize them for their accomplishments.” said Mrs. Goldberg.

Haley earned a 2210 on the SAT and is a straight-A student. Also, to be STAR student she needed to be in the top 10 percent of the class. She is in the top 6%. In addition to being a National Merit Scholar finalist, she is the Spiritual Life Prefect and plans each of the Upper School’s chapels and oversees spiritual organizations such as Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Young Life. She is also in the School’s praise band. As president of the Creative Writing Club, she led a letter-writing initiative for healthcare workers in impoverished nations. Last year she earned the English Award and the Vanderbilt University Book Award.

To obtain the 2016 STAR nomination, high school seniors must have the highest score on a single test date on the three-part SAT and be in the top 10 percent or top 10 students of their class based on grade point average. STAR begins each year in participating high schools throughout Georgia when the STAR Student is named and chooses a STAR Teacher to share in this recognition. The students and their teachers are honored by their schools and receive special recognition in their communities from one of the more than 165 statewide civic organizations and businesses that serve as local sponsors of the STAR program. Students then compete for school system titles, and those winners compete for region honors. Region winners compete for the honor of being named State PAGE STAR Student.

The PAGE Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program, now in its 58th year, is sponsored, administered and promoted by the Professional Association of Georgia Educations (PAGE) Foundation. Since its inception, the STAR program has honored nearly 25,500 students and the teachers they have selected as having had the most influence on their academic achievement.

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