VANDALIA — Butler High School Senior Will Long has been named a National Merit Scholar semifinalist. As a Semifinalist, Long has the opportunity to continue in the competition for to earn one of 7500 National Merit Scholarships, worth more than $32 million.
As a junior Long scored 1,480 out of a possible 1,520 on the PSAT test which serves as a qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship program. Long is following in the steps of his sister who was previously a National Merit Scholar.
“Academics has always been an important part of my family,” he said. “If I’m being honest, there is a little competition there. I’ve always wanted to be better than her. I’ve always been chasing her and now this is one of the steps to catch her. Academics have always been emphasized first in our family, and while I want to keep playing football academics will take care of me after football which is why its so important to me.”
“This is a tremendous honor and I’m very excited for our students and staff to have this experience,” said Butler Principal Tom Luebbe. “It is a very special time for Butler High School. Will is a well rounded young man who has much promise ahead of him.”
Long is undecided on college plans currently but hopes to continue playing football in college.
“All I know is I want to be an engineer, so wherever that takes me and I can play football, that’s my goal,” said Long.
To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition.
About 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and about half of the finalist will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the prestigious Merit Scholar title.
About 1.6 million students, in more than 22,000 high schools, entered the 2018 program by taking the 2016 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants.
The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of US high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. To become a Finalist, the Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record through-out high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on qualifying test.
The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955.
National Merit Scholarship winners will be announced in April.
Reach Darrell Wacker at (937) 684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.