Kieran Black and Jordan Vaughn

Kieran Black and Jordan Vaughn

Two Cherokee County high school students are among scholarship winners from the National Merit Scholarship Program.

Kieran Black, an Etowah High School student from Acworth, and Jordan Vaughn, a Sequoyah High School student from Canton, were chosen for scholarships of $2,500, the National Merit Scholarship Corp. announced Wednesday.

The local students were selected from 15,000 finalists, who were chosen from a pool of 1.6 million students who took the PSAT exam in 2017.

Black plans to study computer science at Georgia Tech, and Vaughn plans to study genetics at Northwestern University, according to Cherokee County School District.

“We’re so proud of Kieran and Jordan for this extraordinary accomplishment and all of the hard work that led them to earning this honor,” said Superintendent Brian Hightower in a statement. “Congratulations to them and their families and all of the teachers and school staff who have played a role in their education. Best wishes for even greater successes in the future.”

National Merit $2,500 Scholarship winners are the finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. 2,500 students from across the U.S. will receive this scholarship, and the number of winners named in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the nation’s graduating high school seniors.

Scholars were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors who appraised a substantial amount of information submitted by both the finalists and their high schools: the academic record, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from two standardized tests; contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the finalist and a recommendation written by a high school official.

Students are selected for the National Merit Scholarship Program when high school juniors take the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The highest-scoring participants from each state are named semifinalists, and those that meet high academic standards and other requirements advance to the finalist level.

This is the second group of winners the National Merit Scholarship Corp. has announced. On April 17, more than 1,000 recipients of corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards were named, including three other students from CCSD, and all five remain in the running for college-sponsored National Merit scholarships, which are announced in June and July.

By the conclusion of the 2019 program, about 7,600 finalists will have earned the “Merit Scholar” title and received a total of over $31 million in college scholarships.

Shannon is a reporter covering education, city governments, crime, features, religion and other local news. She is a graduate of Young Harris College and currently lives in unincorporated Woodstock.

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