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Watauga High School Students Honored in National Merit Scholarship Competition

National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists Canyon Frerer, Owen Warmuth, Andrew Nenow, and Grace Fowler

Watauga High School students Grace Fowler, Canyon Frerer, Andrew Nenow, and Owen Warmuth have been named Semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarships competition for 2016-17. National Merit Scholarships are prestigious and highly competitive awards given to exceptionally accomplished high school students each year through the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Candidates for a National Merit Scholarship must achieve very high scores on the Preliminary SAT (PSAT), a standardized test taken by about 1.5 million students nationwide. The 16,000 national Semifinalists are chosen based on having a PSAT score that is in approximately the top 1% of scores in their state.

Watauga High School Principal Marshall Gasperson commented that “we are extremely proud of these four students. Their recognition as Semifinalists reflects a great deal of hard work and a sustained commitment to excellence. It’s also a strong indication that we will continue to hear great things about them as they complete college and begin their careers in the years ahead.”

About 15,000 Semifinalists will become National Merit Finalists. To achieve that status, they must achieve a confirming score on the SAT; show a record of consistently excellent academic performance throughout high school, including in any college courses they may have completed; and document any honors and awards received, jobs they may have held, and their participation in school and community activities.

National Merit Finalists will be chosen in February and scholarship awards will be announced between April and July. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation will select approximately 7,500 scholarship winners from among the 15,000 Finalists. The scholarships are paid for by funds from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation and by sponsorships from over 400 businesses, colleges, and universities.

Watauga High School has a current enrollment of approximately 1,390 students and a record of strong academic performance. Principal Marshall Gasperson is the 2016-17 Watauga County Schools Principal of the Year.

WHS students achieved a record high graduation rate of 90.8% in 2016 and posted the second highest SAT scores out of the state’s 115 school districts. Students at the high school also outperformed their statewide peers on most of the state’s required assessments, including End-of-Course tests in English and Biology, the ACT, and the WorkKeys test.