KHS students earn National Merit honors

KHS students earn National Merit honors
KHS students earn National Merit honors

            Kokomo High School senior Christian Abney earned 2018 Semifinalist status in the 63rd annual National Merit Scholarship Program, which means he scored in the top 1 percent nationally among the 1.5 million juniors nationwide who entered the National Merit competition by taking the 2016 PSAT, while classmate Aaryan Morrison earned Commended Scholar status in the National Merit Scholarship Program, which means she scored in the top 3 percent nationally.

            “Christian and Aaryan are incredibly gifted students who have taken advantage of our many college preparatory courses at Kokomo High School,” KHS Principal Angela Blessing noted. “Christian and Aaryan both completed the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program as sophomores, and are currently completing the rigorous International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. Both students also were recognized by the College Board for their exceptional achievement on college-level Advanced Placement (AP) exams. The multitude of high-level AP and IB courses offered at KHS has allowed students like Christian and Aaryan to flourish. I am very proud of each of their accomplishments.”

            Christian is among 16,000 Semifinalists, and Aaryan is among 34,000 Commended Scholars, throughout the nation who have been recognized for their outstanding potential for academic success based on their PSAT scores.

            Christian recorded outstanding scores in all three sections of the exam – Reading, Writing & Language, and Mathematics – with a 72, 74, and 76, respectively, for an impressive 222 total out of a perfect 240. Aaryan scored an excellent 72 on both the Reading and Writing & Language portions of the exam, and a 71 in Mathematics for an outstanding total of 215.

            “It is really a tremendous honor to receive these designations,” Christian noted. “I believe it will help greatly as Aaryan and I apply for colleges.”

            Christian’s top three college choices include Harvard University, Yale University, and University of Chicago, where he hopes to study International Relations or Business. Aaryan is submitting applications to Harvard University, Princeton University, Indiana University, University of Chicago, Clark University in Massachusetts, Macalester College in Minnesota, Georgetown University, and Minerva Schools. Aaryan plans to study International Relations, with the hope of securing a job as a United Nations Developmental Program Director. Aaryan’s ultimate goal is to work on grassroots development campaigns in Africa.

            Both Christian and Aaryan are part of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, and hope to earn the prestigious IB Diploma, which is highly sought after by many universities.

            The two KHS students also earned Advanced Placement (AP) Scholar awards this school year. Christian was named a National AP Scholar, which means he received an average score of at least 4 on all AP exams taken, and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams. This places the KHS student in the top 1% nationally. Aaryan earned an AP Scholar with Distinction Award by recording an average score of 3.5 on all exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these college-level exams. This places Aaryan in the top 2.5% nationally.

            Aaryan noted: “Being able to juggle the demands of AP classes and the IB Diploma Program should be impossible, but Kokomo Schools administrators and teachers make it a manageable reality. Kokomo High School’s commitment to the success of its students ensures that those wishing to participate in both AP classes and the IB Diploma Program can excel without the worry of one interfering with the other. The rigors of the IB Diploma Program not only prepare us for the AP exams, but also give us an idea of the demands of higher education; we are prepared to think, write, and discuss at a collegiate level. Kokomo High School provides an all-around college preparation experience.”

            Christian added: “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.”

            Christian could qualify for some of the National Merit scholarships as he moves forward in the National Merit program. To become a National Merit Finalist, Christian must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which he provides information about his academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. Christian must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a KHS official, write an essay, and earn SAT scores that confirm his earlier performance on the qualifying PSAT.

            From the approximately 16,000 Semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of finalists.

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