DGN names three National Merit Finalists



EXCELLING IN ACADEMICS: Blumka, Nesbitt, and Berghorst qualify as National Merit Scholarship Finalists

Emma Gramm, Feature Editor

Three DGN students have been named as finalists for the National Merit Scholarship Program (NMSP), a program that recognizes senior students for their academic excellence throughout high school. The event is sponsored by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation and grants out scholarships opportunities to the nominees.

Students took it into their own hands to enter this competition by taking either the 2019 Preliminary SAT or National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). Of the 1.5 million applicants nationwide, 15,000 were chosen as finalists. 

Senior Justin Berghorst was among the selected finalists. Berghorst opted for the PSAT to best qualify him as a finalist and explains the nature of why he decided to take part in the program in the first place.

“I generally enjoy taking standardized tests, but my main motivation to enter this program and take the PSAT was the possibility of receiving scholarship money if I performed well on the test,” Berghorst said.

Many colleges offer scholarship opportunities and recognition for NMSP finalists. These scholarships can go anywhere from $2,000 a year to a full ride.

“I have certainly received many letters from colleges describing the scholarships I would be given if I went to that school because of my status as a National Merit Finalist. Typically, these offers are around $2,000 a year,” senior Maddie Naisbitt said.  

For senior Carrisa Blumka participating in the NMSP scholarship opportunity was a tradition she wanted to carry on, as her mom was also a named finalist in this program. 

I was very happy to receive this award! My mom was also a National Merit Finalist in high school, so we have a little bit of family rivalry. I have put a lot of time and effort into my academics, so it is great to see that reflected in this achievement,” Blumka said.

Teachers also had to assist in this process by providing a letter of recommendation for the semifinalists to continue on in the competition. English teacher Alexa Harris and social studies teacher Amy Wlodek-Holland were able to support the finalists in this process by writing in letters of recommendation. 

Harris aided in writing a recommendation letter for Blumka and remarked on her ability to participate with others. 

“Carissa has many amazing attributes that undoubtedly contributed to her success, but one that I find especially valuable is her open-minded nature and willingness to collaborate with other people,” Harris said. 

Wlodek-Holland also expressed her admiration for Nesbitt commenting on her spirt of learning. 

This award is a testament to Maddie’s willingness to understand a subject to the fullest. She is a true learner, always searching out additional information about topics she learns about in class,” Wlodek-Holland said.