Durant student named National Merit Semifinalist

By Jessica Breger Staff Writer jbreger@civitasmedia.com

September 20, 2013

Durant High School Student Zachary Taylor was recognized by the school last week for a recent achievement.

The DHS Senior was just named one of the 173 National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists from Oklahoma.

The semifinalists are chosen by scores from the PSAT taken during a student’s Junior year of high school.

The semifinalists are named the following year. Students who took the PSAT last year as a Junior had to score a 210 or above to qualify to be a semifinalist.

Approximately 1.5 million juniors last year entered the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2012 PSAT and having a scholarship application submitted by their school along with required information about the student.

From the approximate 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 will be named finalists for the scholarship in February.

These student will then be in the running for one of the 2,500 National Merit $2,500 Scholarships to given out this school year.

Scholarship winners will be announced between April and July 2014. Taylor said he prepared for the test and scholarship opportunity by choosing the right classes.

“I’ve always tried to take the most challenging classes,” said Taylor.

He said he did not study for the test outside of school but relied on the preparation done in his classes.

He said he feels it was the choices he made to challenge himself to excel that gave him this opportunity.

“I’m proud of the choices I made that led me here,” he said.

Taylor said that just becoming a semifinalist for this scholarship will open doors for him and that colleges look highly upon students chosen for this scholarship opportunity.

Taylor is looking at attending the United States Military Academy at West Point and getting into the engineering field with the U.S. Military.

Durant Highs School Principal Cheryl Conditt said it is a joy to have Taylor as a student and she said he is very humble and has honorable aspirations.

“He wants to take all of that and serve his country,” said Conditt after highlighting some of the student’s skills and traits.