GALLIPOLIS — Adam Sickels has a special opportunity, to qualify as a National Merit Scholar.
As a junior at Gallia Academy High School, Sickels was named a semi-finalist for the prestigious scholarship program and is set to earn the status of finalist this year as a senior.
The National Merit Scholarship is $2,500 a year for four years, but that is not the only benefit of being a National Merit Scholar.
Last year, Sickels scored well enough on the PSAT (standardized test) to be recognized as a semi-finalist, a necessary step to attempt to earn the final scholarship. In order to do so, Sickels will have to score well on the SAT this fall, fill out an extensive application, and write an essay discussing a monumental event that changed his outlook on life. Semi-finalists are judged according to extra-curricular activities, essays, and SAT test scores.
“The real reason you want to do it is if you’re recognized as a National Merit Finalist, then there’s a lot of colleges that will offer full rides to go there,” said Sickels.
Sickels has already started his application, which is due in October. He will test this fall in the SAT and learn this spring whether he has been accepted as a finalist.
“The teachers here really seem to care about you. They can do one-on-one with you because it’s a smaller school,” said Sickels.
He prefers the small school atmosphere where he can get more personalized education due to class sizes.
Sickels is taking Advanced Placement (AP) classes as well, in the hopes that he will have earned college credits before graduating high school through the AP program. In order to obtain college credit, students must pass the AP exam, not just the class.
Sickels also is active in extracurricular activities, including Key Club, Leo Club, and baseball. The first two are based on the Rotary International and Lions Club, respectively. They are adult organizations dedicated to community service. Sickels attended a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards this past summer.
“It taught me how to lead and communicate with others better, and I felt like that is going to help me when I go to college,” said Sickels.
Sickels prefers to study math and science, and plans to study computer science in college, although he has not yet chosen where he will attend.
Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext 2108 or firstname.lastname@example.org.