• November 24, 2020
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(from left to right) Larry Han, Dominic Sirkin and Justin Palpant celebrate their success in the Scholarship contest (not pictured: Beyza Batca).

Four students from Leesville Road High School are finalists in the National Merit Scholarship competition. Beyza Batca, Larry Han, Justin Palpant and Dominic Sirkin have made it through the finals and now wait to see if they will be awarded scholarships.

The National Merit Scholarship awards the winner two thousand dollars per year for college. “There are private scholarships too, such as scholarships from IBM, that will give you from one to four thousand dollars a year,” commented Han, senior.

“[When I made it into the finals] I was surprised because I had no idea that it had been announced,” commented Palpant, senior, about his experience. “I came into school and someone else told me. I really didn’t even have time to process it.”

These four seniors have been working on becoming National Merit Scholars since their sophomore year.

“First you have to take the PSAT,” explained Han. “Once you get your results, you start the application process. You have to write a lot of essays about leadership, extracurricular activities, grades and the like. After that you take the SAT, and you have to pay to send in your score reports. Then you go from being a semifinalist to a finalist, and from there on it’s just the luck of the draw for the scholarship.”

For those who plan to apply for the scholarship, Palpant had advice: “I was applying for the scholarship right around when I was doing my college applications, and so I recycled the applications.”

The finalists will find out if they have actually won a scholarship sometime between March and mid-June. Approximately 8,300 finalists will become winners.

“It’s nice to compare myself to others around the nation. Twenty years from now, it’ll be great to say that I was a National Merit Scholar,” said Han.

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