Four UNCSA high school seniors are National Merit Semifinalists
Four high school musicians at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) are National Merit Semifinalists, Headmaster and Dean of High School Martin Ferrell has announced. About 1 percent of the 1.6 million students who enter the National Merit Scholarship Program each year qualify as semifinalists.
The semifinalists from UNCSA are Sophie Anderson of Winston-Salem, a violinist who is in her second year in the School of Music; Violet Huang of Chapel Hill, a violist in her third year at UNCSA; Jordan Savage of Scottsdale, Ariz., a saxophonist in his second year; and Lydia Wu of Winston-Salem, a flutist in her first year.
“Their selection as semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program is an indication of the students’ academic excellence, in addition to the impressive artistic achievements each exhibited to gain admission to UNCSA,” said High School Dean Martin Ferrell. “The faculty and I applaud the hard work and discipline that have helped them achieve this significant honor.”
The High School Academic Program at UNCSA combines top-tier academics with immersive conservatory training in dance, drama, music and visual arts. The UNCSA graduating high school class averages 125 students annually with 100 percent graduation rate. Typically, students in the top two-thirds of the class hold grade point averages above 3.0.
High school students enter the National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. To ensure that academically talented young people from all parts of the United States are included in this talent pool, semifinalists are designated on a state-representational basis.
Semifinalists have the opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be offered next spring.
To progress in the competition, semifinalists must submit detailed scholarship applications which demonstrate academic record, participation in school and community activities, leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. They must be endorsed and recommended by high school officials, must write an essay, and must earn SAT scores that confirm their earlier performance on the qualifying test.
Finalists will be announced in February 2018, and scholarship recipients will be announced beginning in April 2018.
Last year, two UNCSA high school musicians advanced to finalist status: Jinho Kang, a pianist from Chapel Hill, is now studying at Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester in New York.; and Rebecca Nelson, a clarinetist from Mebane, is at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
An earlier version of this story included an incorrect photo of one of the students. We apologize for the error.