Wakulla High’s Jason Paris named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist

Jason Paris 


Wakulla High School senior Jason Patrick Paris has been named a National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist in this prestigious program that honors individual students who demonstrate exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies.


Officials of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) recently announced the names of approximately 16,000 Semifinalists in the 62nd annual National Merit Scholarship Program.


These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth about $33 million that will be offered next spring.


Jason has attended Wakulla County Schools since kindergarten, including Shadeville Elementary, Riversprings Middle, and Wakulla High School.  He earned several high school credits while attending Riversprings Middle School.


“Jason has taken a challenging academic route, from Advanced Placement classes to college dual enrollment courses, to being in the WHS Engineering Academy.  He has been an active member of the WHS Band, and has already worked 155 volunteer hours, showing that he can juggle many areas successfully,” stated Superintendent Bobby Pearce.  “We are proud of Jason and also give credit to his parents for their encouragement and support.”


Jason’s parents are Judy and Stephen Paris.  His brother Christopher graduated from WHS in 2014.    


About 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the October, 2015 Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants.


The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing 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 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 Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the title of National Merit Scholar.


NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 420 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.


To become a Finalist, the Semifinalist and his or her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the Semifinalist's academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received.


A Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout 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 the qualifying test.


Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2017. Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis.


About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 230 corporations and business organizations for Finalists who meet their specified criteria.  In addition, about 190 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,000 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsoring college or university.


National Merit Scholarship winners of 2017 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April 2017 and concluding in July 2017. These scholarship recipients will join more than 323,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the National Merit Scholar title since its inception in 1955.


“The Wakulla High School family is very proud of Jason and his accomplishments,” stated WHS Principal Mike Barwick.  “He is a great example of a student who is taking advantage of so many academic opportunities while still participating in Band and other areas that make him well-rounded.”


For more information on the National Merit Scholarship program, contact District Director of Instruction Sunny Chancy at 850-926-0065 (sunny.chancy@wcsb.us) or WHS Dean of Student Services Priscilla Tucker at 926-2221 (priscilla.tucker@wcsb.us).