Pinecrest’s Austin Ward wins National Merit Scholarship

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CUMMING, Ga. –– Austin Ward, a senior in the class of 2013 at Pinecrest Academy, has been named a scholarship winner in the annual nationwide competition of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Ward was one of four finalists from Pinecrest for a National Merit Scholarship. In addition to Ward’s designation, three other graduating seniors in the class of 2013 were recognized as finalists. These were Jimmy Kemper, Kevin Ruiz and Rafael Skokanic.

Additionally, four students in the class of 2014 were named as National Merit semifinalists, including Sophia Skokanic, Michael Bruckner, Matthew Ansley and Jack Meersman.

These four students will be considered for advancement to the status of finalist over the coming months.

Approximately 1.5 million students in some 22,000 high schools enter the National Merit Scholarship competition annually by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). Of these entrants, 16,000 semifinalists are designated on a state representational basis, in numbers proportional to each state’s percentage of the nation’s high school graduating seniors. Semifinalists represent the top 1 percent of the state’s senior students.

To be considered for a National Merit Scholarship, semifinalists must fulfill requirements to advance to finalist standing, including earning an outstanding academic record, endorsement and recommendation by a school official, and achieving SAT scores that confirm their qualifying test performance. Approximately 15,000 meet finalist requirements. By the conclusion of the competition, a small group of finalists are chosen to receive National Merit Scholarships. Winners are finalists considered to possess the strongest combination of academic skills and achievements, extracurricular accomplishments and potential for success in rigorous university studies.