GCHS senior named National Merit Scholarship Program semifinalist | Events
GRAVES COUNTY, KY (KFVS) - Graves County High School senior Chris Woods has been named a National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalist.
He is the 13th GCHS student to earn that designation since the school opened in 1985.
The son of Robert and Virginia Woods of Mayfield plans to study chemical engineering at the University of Kentucky’s College of Engineering-Paducah campus. He said his father is a lab technician at the U.S. Enrichment Corporation plant in West Paducah.
Chris Woods listed his own favorite subjects as chemistry, math, and social studies. He believes his analytical nature and love of problem solving are primary factors in his choice of major and career.
He is a student in the Math/Science/Engineering Academy of GCHS. Extracurricular activities include serving as an officer in the Agape Club and captain of the academic team’s quick recall group as well as membership in the Young Republicans, Beta Club, and Freshman Mentoring Program.
This past summer, he worked on a farm and attended church camp.
“Anything that I accomplish, it’s not from my own strength,” he said. “I really owe it to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®)—a test which serves as an initial screen of approximately 1.5 million entrants each year—and by meeting published program entry/participation requirements.
To participate in the National Merit Scholarship Program, a student must:
- Take the PSAT/NMSQT in the specified year of the high school program and no later than the third year in grades 9 through 12, regardless of grade classification or educational pattern
- Be enrolled as a high school student, progressing normally toward graduation or completion of high school, and planning to enroll full time in college no later than the fall following completion of high school
- Be a citizen of the United States; or be a U.S. lawful permanent resident (or have applied for permanent residence, the application for which has not been denied) and intend to become a U.S. citizen at the earliest opportunity allowed by law.
Of the 1.5 million entrants, some 50,000 with the highest PSAT/NMSQT® Selection Index scores (critical reading + mathematics + writing skills scores) qualify for recognition in the National Merit Scholarship Program.
About 16,000 students, or approximately one-third of the 50,000 high scorers, are notified that they have qualified as Semifinalists.
In February, some 15,000 Semifinalists are notified by mail at their home addresses that they have advanced to Finalist standing. High school principals are notified and provided with a certificate to present to each Finalist.
All winners of Merit Scholarship awards (Merit Scholar designees) are chosen from the Finalist group, based on their abilities, skills, and accomplishments–without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference. A variety of information is available for NMSC selectors to evaluate: the Finalist's academic record, information about the school's curricula and grading system, two sets of test scores, the high school official's written recommendation, information about the student's activities and leadership, and the Finalist's own essay.
Beginning in March and continuing to mid-June, NMSC notifies approximately 8,000 Finalists at their home addresses that they have been selected to receive a Merit Scholarship award.
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