JA students among top in country

 Tom Kellett and Kendalyn Schrock were named National Merit finalists.  

Twenty-one years ago, Jonathan Alder High School Principal Phil Harris started an Academic Wall of Fame to recognize the school’s National Merit Scholarship Corp. finalists.

"We haven’t outgrown the thing, but I can’t wait until we do," he said.

The school took two more steps toward filling the display case last week when seniors Tom Kellett and Kendalyn Schrock were named Nation-al Merit finalists.

The year that Harris started the Wall of Fame, 1987, was the only other time Jonathan Al-der has had two finalists in the same year. They were Michael D. Beachy and Douglas A. Luce.

Since 1975, the school district has seen 12 of its stu-dents make the National Merit finalists list. In ad-dition to those already mentioned, the honorees include: John E. Adams (cur-rently a school board member), 1975; Juliana I. Yutzy, 1976; Rhonda E. Yutzy, 1980; James B. Clark, 1981; Deidre A. Morrison, 1986; Teri M. Hamlin, 1991; Carol Kauffman, 1995; and Melissa Blevins, 1997. Their photos are on display in the high school foyer. Soon, Kellett and Schrock’s photos will be posted, as well.

"We’re proud of Tom and Kendalyn and happy for them," Harris said. "They may not comprehend the significance of this now, but they will later. This definitely puts them in an elite crowd."

Guidance counselor Ann Davis added, "Obviously, both of them are incredibly smart, but they also are really, really great kids."

Tom Kellett

Kellett, the son of Andy and Heidi Kellett, is headed for The Ohio State University this fall. He plans to pursue a degree in biomedical research followed by graduate studies in pharmacology.

"I want to help people by coming up with new and better medicines," he said.

In high school, Kellett has been active in band, show choir, musicals, soccer and Quick Recall. He has studied martial arts, been involved in Boy Scouts, and plays bass in a post hard-core rock band called "The Last Six Pages." He is a member of St. Joseph’s Church in Plain City, Young Life and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He has worked at Der Dutchman Restaurant.

As a National Merit finalist, Kellett will compete with other finalists enrolling at Ohio State for a full-ride scholarship.

Kendalyn Schrock

Schrock, the daughter of Bud and Kimberlie Schrock, plans to attend Ohio University to study journalism.

"I always have had an interest in writing…I have always wanted to do that for my job," she said.

In high school, Schrock is president of student council, editor of the yearbook, and has played volleyball, competed in Quick Recall, and been a member of the choir. She is a member of Northwest Bible Church in Hilliard and is active in Young Life.

Ohio University has already granted Schrock a full-tuition scholarship based on her grade point average and ACT scores. The university also automatically grants full-tuition scholarships to all National Merit finalists who enroll at the school. Because she has already earned a full-tuition award, Schrock said she is asking the university to consider also covering her room and board.

The Selection Process

The not-for-profit National Merit Scholarship Corp. established its National Merit Scholarship Program in 1955 to recognize student achievement.

The selection process starts with the PSAT test, which students can take in the fall of their junior year. Approximately 1.4 million students take the test each year.

From that large group, the National Merit program takes a closer look at the 50,000 students with the highest scores in the test’s three major components—critical reading, math and writing. A year after the test is administered, the program announces 16,000 semi-finalists.

To be eligible to become a finalist, a semi-finalist must plan to enroll in college, show consistent academic excellence throughout their high school years, take the SAT to back up their earlier PSAT scores, secure a school official’s recom-mendation, demonstrate leadership and involvement in activities, and write an essay.

In February, nearly 18 months after they took the initial PSAT, approximately 15,000 finalists are named. All are American students enrolled in schools in and outside of the United States. All receive certificates. Some receive scholarship money.

Approximately 8,200 of the 15,000 finalists will end up with scholarship money as a result of their status as National Merit finalists. Some will receive awards directly from the National Merit Scholarship Corp. Others will receive awards from independent spon-sors that include colleges, univer-sities, businesses and professional associations. The announcements of those awards will begin in March and run through May.

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