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Conveying intellect

Scholar selected as National Merit Finalist

Senior+Krista+Anderson+looks+at+the+assistant+director+while+playing+keyboard+during+drumline+practice.
Senior Krista Anderson looks at the assistant director while playing keyboard during drumline practice.

Senior Krista Anderson looks at the assistant director while playing keyboard during drumline practice.

Senior Krista Anderson looks at the assistant director while playing keyboard during drumline practice.

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In October of each year, 1.6 million high school juniors prepare and take the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT). To the majority, the test is practice for their SAT, but to scholars like senior Krista Anderson it is only the beginning of a two-year process also known as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT).

After exemplifying a high score on the PSAT, Anderson was chosen as a semi-finalist among 16,000 students. Afterward, she went through the rigorous process of submitting applications and essays that included information about her academics, volunteer service, activities and awards.

Anderson was then selected as a National Merit Finalist, the only student at the school to earn the distinction in two years.

“It was interesting because [NMSQT] doesn’t actually contact you, they contact the school and the school did not tell me when they found out,” Anderson said. “So one of my friends casually was like ‘Hey, congratulations’ and I freaked out because everyone else was finding out and I didn’t. [But] I’m glad I get to represent our school in a positive light.”

Besides practicing on her own in the summer, Anderson was also a part of the PSAT team and worked alongside AP Calculus teacher Karen Fieszel and retired AP English IV teacher Jayne Keane who both led the group.

“She is a very hardworking student,” Keane said. “She’s kind to other people, leads by example and people naturally look to her as a leader. And she thinks out of the box [which] is one of the things that I find so great about her work and working with her.”

Senior Jessica Kumpe, who has been friends with Anderson since middle school, says that her life has been greatly impacted through their friendship.

“She makes me commit to the things I sign up for,” Kumpe said. “So having friends like Krista makes me actually care more about the things I’m involved in like [Junior World Affairs Council] JWAC. I wouldn’t have been in it if Krista wasn’t in it, now I’m an officer.”

In addition to the recognition of the title, National Merit Finalists typically receive scholarships from different universities which grant the recipients funding including full-ride scholarships. Anderson was granted a yearly scholarship of $35,000 from Texas A&M University in College Station which she will be attending this fall and plans to major in microbiology.

“I really like biology [and] how it connects to life in general,” Anderson said. “And also how it uses math to relate to life so you can see how life works in a more mathematical sense.”

Along with the scholarships, being a finalist allowed Anderson to attend National Merit events which introduced her to other finalists as well as past National Merit scholars who are already in college.

“I’m applying for a study abroad program in Italy for National Merit ranking students which is a great opportunity to meet other scholars and the mentors who are leading the trip,” Anderson said.

Other than being president of JWAC and the science club, Anderson is also an AP scholar with distinction, regular volunteer at the Christian Community Action Food Pantry and two time member of region band for oboe.

“She has for the past two years, did an extra thing at CCA, even [during] summer, she went and ran the registers,” Keane said. “We also go to assisted living; she and Sara Elliot prepare music so they have Christmas, Easter and Valentines Day [themes]. And they prepare musical numbers so the older people can have some entertainment.”

Anderson will have an opportunity to continue competing for 7,500 National Merit Scholarships that are worth more than $32 million.

“The entire process of becoming a National Merit Finalist encouraged me to develop a strong sense of dedication and eagerness to learn,” Anderson said. “I’m really thankful for the opportunities that accompany being a finalist [because] it’s been instrumental in helping me construct a solid foundation for my future career.”

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