Bettendorf High School National Merit seniors, Sophia Utsinger, Noah Rantilla and Rayanne Brackey
Three Bettendorf High School seniors, Rayanne Brackey, Noah Rantilla, and Sophia Utsinger, were recently recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Program. Brackey and Utsinger received letters of Commendation for their academic achievements, while Rantilla received recognition as a National Merit Semifinalist.
"BHS prides itself on a rigorous curriculum with clear learning outcomes. The staff provides engaging learning experiences and course offerings, including honors and advanced placement courses, that challenge students to achieve their highest potential," said Principal Joy Kelly. "We are immensely proud of Noah Rantilla, Rayanne Brackey, Sophia Utsinger and all previously recognized students, as well as the teachers who prepared them. With this level of achievement, these students and staff exemplify commitment in the pursuit of 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.
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, includes 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 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.