Thirteen Students Achieve National Merit Status

This piece was published in the October 2015 issue of the Prep News




Fr. Baum and Mr. Harkness pose with the 13 National Merit Semifinalists. (Front Row: Mr. Greg Harkness, Blaise Rebman Jack Franke, Quang Nguyen, Calaway Scholes, Philip Woolley, Max Stevens, Fr. Terrence Baum, S.J.; Back Row: Ivor Vinsant, Thomas Vopat, Daniel Henry, John Leisman, Grant Hiss, Samuel Wilkerson, Colin Slaymaker)


Year after year, a few of Rockhurst’s top scholars are nationally recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. This year, Rockhurst has 13 National Merit Semi-Finalist chosen from the over one million students that took the PSAT nation wide.

Each year, sophomores and juniors at Rockhurst take the PSAT. Sophomores take the test to become more familiar with the test and prepare for taking the test junior year.

Rockhurst has three more National Merit Semi-Finalist than last year’s ten. The amount of people who make the cut off, which was 209 in Missouri, does not necessarily worry Mr. Greg Harkness, principal, very much though.

“I always feel that National Merit is true testimony to the students themselves. It shows that they are looking at school in a different way than most students. It is a true reward for them that the school gets to be a part of,” Mr. Harkness said.

Of the students who are recognized as National Merit Scholars most of them are happy to be able to represent Rockhurst is a positive manner.

“My attitude toward the PSAT changed when I found out that I found out I would be representing Rockhurst,” Quang Nguyen, a National Merit Semi-Finalist said.

Of the thirteen National Merit Semi-Finalists, two of them, Colin Slaymaker and Blaise Rebman, also received a perfect score on their ACT.

“You do not get a perfect score on the ACT or become a National Merit Semi-finalist on accident. These young men are examples of their hard work in academics,” Mr. Harkness said.

After students are named National Merit Semi-Finalists, they can go on to start the long process of putting themselves in contention to become National Merit Finalist.

By becoming National Merit Finalists, these young men can set themselves up for over seven thousand scholarships totaling $32 million.

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