Two Asheville School Students Advance As National Merit Finalists


Based on preliminary scores from national testing (PSAT), two Asheville School seniors have advanced to the finalist round in the 57th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Seniors Patrick (P.J.) Eckerd and Lawrence Waller, both from Asheville, NC, are two of 15,000 finalists competing for National Merit Scholarships.

“It has been my good fortune to teach P.J. Eckerd so I can say firsthand that he is a particularly astute reader and careful thinker,” said Arch Montgomery, Head of School. “His writing is clear, eloquent, and thoughtful. This is in a history class – particularly impressive since his real passion seems to be computer science. This is a versatile and talented young man.

“Lawrence Waller is a rare bird, so rare that he is a finalist in the Morehead-Cain Scholarship competition. He is a true polymath, good at every subject and highly motivated, curious, and dedicated. He is Chair of the Honor Council and a hugely respected member of our student body. It does not surprise me that he would excel in the National Merit competition,” Montgomery said.

According to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, the selection of some 8,400 Merit Scholarship winners from the group of more than 15,000 Finalists is now in progress, and they will begin mailing scholarship offers in March.

There were approximately 16,000 students selected as semifinalists, representing less than one percent of high school seniors nationwide. Around 1.5 million juniors from 22,000 high schools entered the National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2010 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Semifinalists have the opportunity to compete for 8,300 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $34 million.

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