Eau Claire (WQOW) - High schoolers across the country recently received test results, but not the COVID-19 kind. Instead, students received scores from the PSAT, which is the gateway to winning a National Merit Scholarship.
Progressing in the National Merit Scholarship competition is an accomplishment that's openly regarded as one of the highest academic honors due to its extremely competitive selection process.
A scholarship so esteemed that colleges and universities often seek out and sponsor finalists to attend their institutions for undergraduate careers.
Of the nearly 1.6 million test-takers each year, only 16,000 go on to be national semifinalists, and six of them are in the Eau Claire Area School District.
One of those students is Morgan Jaenke, a senior at North High School.
"I didn't know much about the PSAT before I took it, I just looked through the practice book," Jaenke said.
Jaenke may have been humble about her accomplishment, but her counselor said she is well-deserving of the semifinalist position.
"She is just an academically successful student," said Maureen Doughty. "She knocked the ACT out of the ballpark with a 33. She's exhausted our math AP curriculum and our English advanced AP curriculum, and she's going to be one of our valedictorians this year too."
There are five other national merit semifinalists from ECASD, all of which are from Memorial High School. They are: Rachel Lester, Joshua Mithuen, Emery Thul, Benjamin Young, and Dalena Young.
In addition to those students, Michaela N. from Regis High School was also named a semifinalist.