National Merit Finalist

National Merit Finalist
National Merit Finalist

            Kokomo High School senior Christian Abney was among the approximately 15,000 high school seniors nationwide who earned 2018 Finalist status in the 63rd annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

            KHS Principal Angela Blessing noted, “The KHS administration is incredibly proud of Christian for being named a National Merit Finalist. Christian is an exemplary scholar at Kokomo High School, and also is a gifted writer and speaker. Christian’s approach to learning is respected by faculty, staff, and peers. Christian has added to the legacy of high academic achievement by Kokomo High School students.”

            Christian, who will attend Harvard University in the fall to study International Relations or Business, completed the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program as a sophomore. Christian will graduate from KHS as an International Baccalaureate Diploma candidate after completing the rigorous IB Diploma Program.

            In addition to completing rigorous IB Diploma Program classes, Christian also excels in Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Christian earned the prestigious National AP Scholar award from the College Board by being among the top 1 percent (more than 3 million high school students took AP exams) nationally who earned scores of at least 4 (5 is best) on all AP exams taken, and 4 or higher on eight or more of these college-level exams. Christian took 8 AP exams (Human Geography, Macro Economics, Micro Economics, U.S. Government, Calculus AB, Statistics, Physics 1, and Physics C: Mechanics), and recorded an average score of 4.75 (with six 5’s).

            Christian noted: “I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to take multiple AP classes and IB classes at Kokomo High School. The rigorous curriculum of the IB Diploma Program has uniquely prepared me for the challenging DP and AP exams. I was able to transfer what we had learned in DP classes at KHS to the AP exams; I overcame the differences in the two programs through additional studying and with the help of my Kokomo High School teachers and counselors. The fusion of both programs has given me a unique, holistic high school experience that will allow me to enter college ready to take on new challenges… with the added benefit of having several college credits upon entrance.”

            In September, Christian was recognized as a National Merit Semifinalist for his outstanding potential for academic success based on his PSAT scores. Christian recorded an outstanding 76 (possible 80) on the Mathematics portion of the PSAT, along with a 74 in Writing & Language and a 72 on the Reading portion of the exam for an impressive 222 total.

            To become a National Merit Finalist, Christian had to submit a detailed scholarship application, in which he provided information about his academic record, participation in school and community activities, leadership abilities, and honors and awards received. The KHS student also had to demonstrate an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a KHS official, write an essay, and earn SAT scores that confirmed his performance on the qualifying PSAT.

            Approximately 7,400 Merit Scholarship winners are selected from the 15,000 Finalists. The National Merit Scholarship Program will notify scholarship winners throughout the month of March.

            KHS Guidance Counselor Heather Mygrant noted that Christian is a well-rounded student, who excels in activities that go beyond academia.

            “Christian is a curious, passionate, and thoughtful young man,” Mrs. Mygrant explained. “Christian is dedicated to his studies, but he always is looking for ways to help others.”

            Christian estimated that he has spent 215 hours volunteering throughout the Kokomo community and beyond. He has worked with special needs students at Kokomo High School, and volunteered with the Kokomo Housing Authority… mulching outdoor areas, playing with the children, and assisting residents after the 2016 tornadoes. Christian spent last summer picking vegetables, caging and tying tomato plants, and pulling spent plants in the Community Garden. During Fall Break of his sophomore and junior years, Christian worked with the St. Bernard Project to dismantle parts of four New Orleans homes damaged by Katrina, and helped rebuild the homes to be safe and habitable. Christian volunteered at Kokomo Urban Outreach, where he sorted and packaged food, moved supplies, and prepared “Buddy Bags” for students to take home on weekends. At Howard Haven, Christian plays Bingo with the residents and performs landscape maintenance in the front grounds. During Spring Break 2018, Christian plans to travel southwest with his IB Theory of Knowledge class to help restore a trail for the Navajo Nation, while staying with students from the only IB school specifically created for members of the Navajo tribe.

            Christian taught himself to play the piano as part of his Creativity, Action, and Service project for the IB Diploma Program, and also is a 4-year member of the varsity swim team at KHS. Last season, Christian was a Sectional finalist in the 400 Free Relay, 200 Medley Relay, 100 Backstroke, and 100 Butterfly, while earning the KHS Most Improved Swimmer Award both his sophomore and junior seasons.

            Christian also has been active in the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). As a junior, Christian was elected to serve as the 2018 Indiana Executive Vice President for FBLA after completing his term as co-president of the KHS chapter.

            Christian earned four Top 10 awards at the Indiana FBLA 2017 State Leadership Conference and six Top 10 awards at the 2016 Indiana FBLA State Leadership Conference.

            Christian participated in the Hoosier Boys State experience, where he was elected as a State Senator in mock elections. Christian serves as the Senior Class Vice President at KHS, and serves on the International Festival Board that plans the yearly cultural event at KHS. Christian also earned the Rising Star Award from the Indiana Association of High School Principals. Christian studied Spanish at the University of Costa Rica during his freshman year, and participated in an ambassador’s trip to China as a 10th-grader.

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