Three Katy-area students awarded National Merit Scholarships

Contributed Report
Posted 7/14/22

Three Katy-area students were among over 1,200 announced as winders of National Merit Scholarships financed by colleges and universities. These Merit Scholar designees join more than 2,600 other college-sponsored award recipients who were announced in June.

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Three Katy-area students awarded National Merit Scholarships

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Three Katy-area students were among over 1,200 announced as winners of National Merit Scholarships financed by colleges and universities. These Merit Scholar designees join more than 2,600 other college-sponsored award recipients who were announced in June.

The students are:

  • Jack Lee, of Seven Lakes High School, will attend Texas A&M University, where he is expected to study nuclear engineering.
  • Gray Alan Podolak, of St. John XXIII College Preparatory, will attend Texas Tech University, where he is expected to study chemical engineering.
  • Mary N. Rumsey, of Seven Lakes High School, will attend the University of North Texas, where she is expected to study education.

Officials of each sponsor college selected their scholarship winners from among the finalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program who will attend their institution. College-sponsored awards provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution financing the scholarship.

This year, 155 colleges and universities are sponsoring over 3,800 Merit Scholarship awards. Sponsor colleges include 82 private and 73 public institutions located in 42 states and the District of Columbia.

This is the last group of National Merit Scholar designees to be announced in 2022 by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. In three spring releases, the corporation announced winners of corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards, National Merit $2,500 scholarship awards, and the first group of college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards.

This final group of winners brings the number of 2022 National Merit Scholars to more than 7,200. These high school graduates will receive scholarships for undergraduate study worth a total of nearly $28 million. In addition to college-sponsored awards, two other types of National Merit Scholarships were offered—2,500 National Merit $2,500 scholarships, for which all finalists competed, and about 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for finalists who met criteria specified by their grantor organizations.

This year’s competition for National Merit Scholarships began when high school juniors took the 2020 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. In September 2021, more than 16,000 semifinalists were named on a state-representational basis in numbers proportional to each state’s percentage of the national total of graduating high school seniors. Semifinalists were the highest-scoring program entrants in each state and represented less than one percent of the nation’s seniors.

To become a finalist, each semifinalist had to complete a detailed scholarship application, which included writing an essay, describing leadership positions and contributions in school and community activities, showing an outstanding academic record, and being endorsed and recommended by a high school official. Semifinalists also had to take the SAT or ACT and earn scores that confirmed their performance on the initial qualifying test. From the semifinalist group, over 15,000 attained finalist standing. About half of the finalists were chosen to receive National Merit Scholarships.

The corporation is a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance. It was founded in 1955 to conduct the National Merit Scholarship Program. Over the past 67 years, approximately 368,000 outstanding young individuals have won National Merit Scholarships worth more than $1.3 billion. The majority of awards offered each year are underwritten by approximately 400 independent corporate and college sponsors that support the corporation’s efforts to recognize scholastically talented youth and encourage the pursuit of academic excellence.

National Merit Scholarship, Seven Lakes High School, St. John XXIII College Prepartory

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