Three high school students at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts are finalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program, Headmaster and Dean of High School Martin Ferrell has announced.
The finalists, all students in the School of Music, are Sophie Anderson of Winston-Salem, a violinist who is in her second year at UNCSA; Violet Huang of Chapel Hill, a violist in her third year; and Lydia Wu of Winston-Salem, a flutist in her first year.
They are among 15,000 students across the nation who are eligible for more than $32 million in scholarships.
“These three young women are among the nation’s best and brightest high school students,” Ferrell said. “They have applied hard work and discipline to both music and academic studies, and their achievements are cause for celebration. I join the faculty in applauding their success.”
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.
“I think it is remarkable to have three finalists in a class of about 120 high school seniors,” Ferrell said. “It illustrates what we know to be true – students who participate in the arts are likely to excel academically, and they develop skills like critical thinking and problem solving that will serve them well in whatever careers they choose.”
Winners of National Merit scholarships are chosen from the finalist group based on their abilities, skills, and accomplishments as evidenced by academic record, information about the school's curricula and grading system, two sets of test scores, the high school official's written recommendation, information about the student's activities and leadership, and submitted essays.
Since its establishment in 1955, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation has recognized more than three million students and provided more than 414,000 scholarships worth in excess of $1.6 billion. National Merit awards are considered as definitive marks of excellence.
February 27, 2018