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FINALISTS: 2 Rome High Seniors Advance in National Merit Scholarship Program

Congratulations are in order!

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Two Rome High School seniors have advanced from Semifinalists to Finalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program for 2021. As two of the 16,000 Semifinalists, Jace Clowdus and Max Timberlake are now among 15,000 other students in competition for National Merit Scholarships, worth more than $30 million.

On February 8, 2021, letters from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) were sent to the homes of Clowdus and Timberlake, informing the students and their families of the advancement.

RHS Assistant Principal and AP Coordinator, Amber Garlin, explained that this specific academic journey begins in sophomore year when the students are given the opportunity to take the PSAT (Preliminary SAT). “When those same students become juniors,” she added, “we offer the opportunity to the top 25 students in the class to take the exam again, specifically for National Merit purposes. Those students then have the opportunity to go into this pool of advanced juniors who have the opportunity for scholarships and recognitions down the line.”

“I mean, it’s an honor to be named a National Merit Scholar Finalist,” said Clowdus after accepting a certificate of recognition from Rome High Principal, Dr. Eric Holland and Rome City Schools Superintendent, Louis Byars. “There are so many opportunities that come alongside this honor, just with college and such. There are a lot of really great scholarships that I now have the chance to receive and that means a lot to me.”

Timberlake said he really didn’t expect such an outcome from taking the PSAT. He said he has been able to draw inspiration and motivation from his parents all along the way. “My parents both went to college and Grad school and they really encouraged me to succeed in all of my academic achievements.” He added, “Without them I probably wouldn’t have worked as hard and accomplished as much as I have.”

Clowdus, too, gave recognition to his parents in his success as well. “My parents have really helped me become an academically successful student. They really push me to do my best, and I wouldn’t be here without them,” he smiled.

Only 7,500 Merit Scholarship winners will be selected and awarded this spring. Scholarship winners will be notified by NMSC in March, via email, while confidential notification will be sent to RHS.

“There is no limit as to how many scholars can win from one school,” Garlin explained. “Many, many schools don’t have anyone who makes it to the finalist stage, so to have two who are still in the running is pretty exceptional.”

RHS recognized their two finalists, this week, as they presented Clowdus and Timberlake with a certificate from the NMSC. “Just being a finalist in and of itself is a huge recognition,” Garlin added.

“I’m extremely proud of these two students,” said Superintendent Louis Byars. “To be able to make it this far is such an accomplishment. It truly says a lot about these two young men, it says a lot about our teachers who have supported them through the years, as well as all of our staff and faculty as this is an accumulation of work that they have done for now 13 years, ever since Kindergarten. I am very proud of these two young men and all of the people that were involved in helping them be successful.”

National Merit Scholarship winners for 2021 will be announced in four nationwide news releases, from April to July.

Congratulations and good luck to Jace and Max, two fantastic representations of the Wolf Pack!

The Georgia Virtue
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