Excelling in academics is an important part of life for most high school students, and that couldn’t be more true for Science Hill High School seniors Katie Deal and Stephen Wang, the latest recipients of corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarship awards.
Deal and Wang were among 1,000 students who received the corporate-sponsored National Merit awards, which were financed by about 200 corporations, company foundations and other businesses.
To qualify for the National Merit Scholarship competition, both students had to take the Preliminary SAT in order to qualify for the next process in getting the award.
When it came time to take the Preliminary SAT at the end of their junior year, both Deal and Wang didn’t know a whole lot about the National Merit Scholarship other than it was at a time when they were seriously thinking about their post-high school future.
“It was really good practice for me being able to do that application to get ready for some of the other schools I was applying for,” Deal said.
“The scholarship application was a little more laid back and we just had to make sure we did that one essay and fill everything out and a lot of it was just waiting and seeing,” Wang added.
While waiting to hear back on the status of the National Merit Scholarship, both students were busy applying to schools and for other scholarships.
By the time each student received word they had made it through the award process, it was a relief and served as closure to all the hard work both Deal and Wang had put into their high school career.
“We had been working a long time, since we were back in freshman year, and just to be able to get to the end. This is about the time when we get our college letters back and then we get the National Merit letters back. It’s just relaxing,” Wang said.
Deal received a one-time $1,500 scholarship from Eastman Chemical Co. in Kingsport.
In addition to the National Merit Scholarship, Deal also received scholarships from the University of Virginia’s Echols Scholars Program and Jefferson Scholars Foundation — both of which she will utilize when she attends school there in the fall.
Deal said she isn’t sure what she will focus her studies on, but she’s excited to start taking college-level classes.
“I’m really interested in global commerce but my interests span a huge variety of things right now, so I’m really looking forward to going in my freshman year, and taking all kinds of different classes,” she said.
Wang received a $1,000 renewable scholarship from Siemens through the National Merit Scholarship Corp. He also received a scholarship from Goldbold Family Foundation at Georgia Tech, where he plans to attend.
While at Georgia Tech, Wang said he plans on studying engineering.
“I’m not sure which discipline of engineering I want to go into, but I figure I’ve got a little bit of time to test the waters and figure it out in the first couple of years,” he said.
Additionally, four Dobyns-Bennett High School students were awarded corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarship awards, including Harrison Emery, William Glasscock, Benjamin Jack and Jackson Tonnies.