BY MEKINZIE KYLE –
On September 13, 2017 officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced the names of approximately 16,000 Semifinalists in the 63rd annual National Merit Scholarship Program. These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship® award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. About 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and about half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title. One of these Semifinalists is Acorn High School’s very own Zane Barr.
Barr, the seventeen year old son of Michael and Jessie Barr, is the first in the Ouachita River School District’s history to hold the esteemed title of Semifinalist.
To become a Finalist, Barr and Acorn High School must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the Semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, honors and awards received. 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. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of Finalists. 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.
Barr’s father, a teacher at Acorn High School, is especially proud of the academic dedication his son has exhibited in being awarded this title. Barr is very thankful for the teachers, administrators, and staff members at AHS for giving him what he believes were the essential tools to get him to this point in his educational career. He also appreciates the student body’s positive reaction, saying, “I feel very supported by my peers; I couldn’t do it without my pals.”
Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2018. 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 230 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 4,000 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.
National Merit Scholarship winners of 2018 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more than 330,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.
If there is another word for pride, the staff and student body at Acorn High are searching for it. Barr has displayed all the aspects of a great academic, and surely will continue to bring the school great satisfaction as Finalists and recipients are announced in the following months.