WCHS seniors Evan Garrison and Truman Oaks are National Merit semifinalists
Officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation are announcing the names of approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 67th Annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Among them are Webb City High School seniors Evan Garrison and Truman Oaks.
About 1.5 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2021 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screening 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.
Garrison and Oaks and the other semifinalists now have the opportunity to compete for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth about $33 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of competition.
Stacy Stockton, gifted education teacher, says it’s a “big deal” for Webb City High School to have two semifinalists. “Usually,” she says, “WCHS would be lucky to have one student who is selected. In the past 10 years, we have had only two selected: Tyrone Hou or Elise Gaston.
“Several times, we have had a student selected as a commended student, which is like an honorable mention.” She notes there are 34,000 commended students, who were close, but didn’t make the top 16,000.
The biggest scholarships go to those selected as semifinalists. At some universities, just having this status automatically earns a student the best possible scholarship, according to Stockton.
Evan Garrison is the son of Doug and Catherine Garrison. He is active in debate, competing all the way to nationals, and in band, where he plays in the jazz ensemble and serves as one of the drum majors for the Webb City Cardinal Pride. He is also active in FCA and the golf team. He represented WCHS previously at Missouri Scholars Academy. Evan wants to major in aerospace engineering.
Truman Oaks is the son of James and Debi Oaks. He is active in technical theater, serving as stage manager or on the crew for many productions, as well as in Scholar Bowl. Further, he has recently earned a National Indigenous Award from the College Board in recognition of his achievements on the PSAT/NMSQT and AP exams. Truman wants to attend law school.
National Merit Scholarship Corporation, 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.