Commended Scholars hard work has paid off

Megan Stoerman, Editor-In-Chief

Junior year of high school is notorious for being the busiest year due to the stress of classes, the beginning of college decisions, and standardized tests. Many of these standardized tests are the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT), Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), and American College Testing exam (ACT). The PSAT taken during a student’s junior year is the test that qualifies them for the National Merit Scholarship Program. This program gives students scholarships and other recognition down the line. The school this year has a total of four students who have been awarded Commended Students from the PSAT.

Commended Students are a group of individuals who took the PSAT and are chosen on a national index score of PSAT scores. About 16,000 students are chosen to be Commended Students from about one-third of the 50,000 high scoring students who took the PSAT. These students do not get to move on to the being in the running for National Merit but they do still get a Letter of Commendation that recognizes them for their academic excellence. These students from the school were Anna Hastings, Abigail Morris, Jillian Otero, and Dylan Stanley, seniors.

Morris found out that she is a Commended Student over the announcements and when she found out she “was confused but also excited.”

Becoming a Commended Student and studying for the PSAT in general is a very arduous process. Preparation is key when it comes to studying for standardized tests. Hastings said that she “started taking practice tests about a month and a half beforehand.”

Often times, clubs, activities, and classes in school can help students raise their chances to be a Commended Scholar or be in the running for National Merit. Advanced Placement (AP) classes often help students prepare for the PSAT. Activities such as the school’s Writing Center, Science Olympiad and DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) can help students challenge their minds to prepare.

Some advice to those interested in becoming a part of the National Merit Scholarship Program from Stanley is “make sure to get a good night’s sleep before the test.”

Morris would also recommend to students “to always stay focused on your goals and don’t let anything get in your way of success.”