Scholars Abound: Senior Haley Todd Named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist & 24 Students Earn AP Scholar Awards

Sep 23, 2015 | Impact, Maverick, Upper School News

AA_L5704Representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, Haley Todd, a senior, has been named a Semifinalist in the the National Merit Scholarship Program. Additionally, senior Chandler Grove qualified as a National Merit Commended Student. 
To qualify for the recognition, Haley earned one of the highest scores in the state on the PSAT, a score of 218. To become a National Merit Finalist, Todd will submit a detailed scholarship application providing her academic record, school and community activities, leadership abilities, and honors and awards received. Read more about Haley’s achievements and the qualifications to be a National Merit Scholarship Finalist below.
Additionally, 24 Mount Vernon students (including Haley) were recently notified they have earned AP Scholar Awards this year. The College Board Advanced Placement Program recognizes high school students who demonstrate outstanding college-level achievement through AP courses and exams. AP Scholars are those students who have earned scores of 3 or higher on three or more AP exams. Some of Mount Vernon’s award winners went far beyond this level of distinction earning as high as a 3.5 on all AP exams taken and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams. One student in particular, Derek Liu, earned the National AP Scholar Award for scoring a 4 or higher on all AP exams taken, and scores of 4 or higher on 8 or more of these exams!
Congratulations to Mount Vernon’s AP Scholars: Akim Abdiev, Alex Alba, Aidan Brady, Noah Fried, Chandler Grove, Elizabeth Hartinger, William Jones, Melanie Lane, Daniel Marcuse-Gonzales, Carson Mullen, Hunter Whitney, John Willingham, Parker Willsey, Epaphras Yonas, Hannah Zenas, Zachary Merlin, Zhiyin She, John Stupek, Margaret White, Anjana Anandkumar, William Thompson, Haley Todd, Katherine Ward, and Derek Liu.
More about Mount Vernon’s National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist
As Mount Vernon’s National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist, Haley Todd is involved in numerous opportunities at school and in the community. At MVPS, as Spiritual Life Prefect she plans each of the Upper School’s chapels and oversees spiritual organizations such as Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Younglife. 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 and has earned straight As each year in high school.
Outside of school Haley volunteers frequently with Families of Children Under Stress (FOCUS), where she works with children who have with special needs. Helping children of all ages and with a range of abilities, she has worked at day camps and respites.
Haley is a writer, too. Disney Hyperion and Random House Publishing have published her book reviews in addition to anecdotes. Recently, she became the social media/transmedia assistant for “Northbound Web Series,” a modern-day YouTube adaptation of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey.
Being an advocate for So Worth Loving and More Love Letters are some of her favorite activities. So Worth Loving is a fashion organization which promotes self-worth and self-love; Haley advocates for them by wearing their clothing, attending events, spreading their message to her friends, and posting about them on social media. More Love Letters is an organization in which people can request letters for loved ones who are going through a hard time; letter writers then write to those requests, and the person who is struggling receives a bundle of letters of encouragement.
Steps in the 2016 Competition
About 1.5 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2014 Preliminary sat/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (psat/nmsqt®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. A Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn sat® scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test. From the approximately 16,000 Semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation.
Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference. Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2016. Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit® $2500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 250 corporations and business organizations for Finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located. In addition, about 190 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 3,900 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.