BHS Students Recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Program

BHS Students Recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Program

Sep 20, 2021


Six Bettendorf High School students were recognized for receiving recognition from the National Merit Scholarship Program.

Commended: Carolyn Kress

Semifinalists: Matthew Dorang, Aidan Hamner, Preston Martens, Noah Raso, and Nicholas Theuerkauf.

The students are all seniors at Bettendorf High School except Matthew Dorang, who graduated a year early and is currently attending Iowa State.

"BHS prides itself on a relevant and rigorous curriculum, including honors, advanced placement courses, and dual credit courses," said Principal Robert Boley. "We are immensely proud of Matthew, Aidan, Carolyn, Preston, Noah, and Nicholas, as well as all previously recognized students and the teachers who prepared them. With this level of achievement, these students and staff exemplify determination and excellence."

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, Semifinalists must advance to the finalist level of the competition by fulfilling several requirements. About 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and approximately half of the Finalists will be selected as Merit Scholarship winners, earning the Merit Scholar® title.

Established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Program, NMSC is a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance. Scholarships awarded through the program are underwritten by NMSC’s own funds and approximately 500 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.

Competition Steps

Approximately 1.6 million juniors in nearly 22,000 high schools entered the 2018 National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide semifinalists represent less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, including the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

To become a National Merit Finalist, a Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the school principal, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier qualifying test performance. The Semifinalist and a school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, which includes the student’s self-descriptive essay and information about the Semifinalist’s participation and leadership in school and community activities.