Eight students named Merit Scholars

Jan Garrison

Selected from Midwest region


May 9, 2021

Eight Culver Academies students have been named Merit Scholars and will receive $2,500 National Merit Scholarships. Dean of Faculty Joshua Pretzer made the announcement during the annual academic convocation on Wednesday.

The four Culver Girls Academy seniors were McLayne Houin (Plymouth, Indiana), Jenna Pae (Yorktown, Indiana), Elena Vona (Perrineville, New Jersey), and Pranjal Singh (Midland, Michigan). The four Culver Military Academy first classmen receiving scholarships were Evan Lu (San Marino, California), William Wei (San Jose, California), Yuqi Lin (Hangzhou, China), and Konner Brockus (Phoenix, Arizona). They were selected from the 13-state Midwest boarding school region.

Boarding schools are separated into different geographic regions since they have out-of-state students attending. States making up the Midwest region include Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Merit Scholars were selected from a national pool of finalists in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship program. They are chosen after being judged “to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies,” according to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. The selection committee is comprised of college admissions officers and high school counselors.

Recipients are selected based on their academic records, information about the school’s curricula and grading system, two sets of test scores, high school officials’ written recommendations, information of the student’s activities and leadership, and each finalist’s own essay.

A total of 1,511,469 high school juniors from 20,807 high schools took the initial screening test, the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) in October 2019. Last fall, 17,000 of the highest-scoring participants were named semifinalists.

Of that group, 16,000 students met the very high academic standards and other requirements to advance to the finalist level. This spring, approximately 7,500 students nationwide were named Merit Scholars and received nearly $30 million in college scholarships.

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