D-B, THS students in last group of National Merit winners

Rick Wagner • Jul 20, 2016 at 1:34 PM

One Kingsport and one Bristol, Tennessee, student are among the final group of high school graduates to win a National Merit Scholarship.

Sarah E. Homoky, of Dobyns-Bennett High School, plans a career in medicine and has received a University of Alabama National Merit Scholarship. Carter M. Eldreth, of Tennessee High in Bristol, plans a career in law and has received a National Merit Scholarship from Emory College, the undergraduate division of Emory University. They are in the last group of National Merit Scholar honorees to be announced in 2016 by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). In a news release Wednesday, NMSC announced winners of corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards, National Merit $2500 Scholarship awards and the first group of college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards.

The final group of winners brings the number of 2016 National Merit Scholars to more than 7,300. These distinguished high school graduates will receive scholarships for undergraduate study worth a total of about $33 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 approximately 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for finalists who met criteria specified by their grantor organizations.

The competition for National Merit Scholarships began when more than 1.5 million juniors in some 22,000 high schools took the 2014 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. In September 2015, about 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 1 percent of the nation’s seniors.

The corporation warned that any attempt to compare high schools on the basis of the number of merit scholarship winners will lead to erroneous and unsound conclusions. The National Merit Scholarship Program honors individual students who show exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The program does not measure the quality or effectiveness of education within a school, system or state.