Trinity Student Represents Opelika in National Merit Scholarship Program


Elliot Nell is the only high school student in Opelika to become a 2011 National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalist

Elliot Nell, a senior at Trinity Christian School, was recently notified that he was a National Merit Semifinalist – and the only one from Opelika this year. Nell took the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (also known as the PSAT) as a junior in October of 2010. According the National Merit Scholarship Guide, this test is “an annual academic competition for recognition and college undergraduate scholarships….The competition is open to all U.S. high school students who meet published participation requirements. Scholarship winners are chosen on the basis of abilities, skills, and accomplishments – without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.” This test is meant to “identify and honor academically talented U.S. high school students and encourage them to pursue rigorous college studies; provide professional services for corporations, company foundations, colleges and universities, and other organizations that wish to sponsor scholarships for outstanding participants in the competition; promote a broader and deeper respect for learning in general and for exceptionally talented individuals in particular; stimulate increased support for the education of scholastically able students; and encourage the pursuit of academic excellence at all levels of education.” To advance to the level of Finalist, a Semifinalist must meet requirements such as submitting high SAT scores and records of academic achievement. The student also must write an essay as well as turn in information about high school courses and extracurricular activities and must be recommended by his or her school. Out of 16,000 Semifinalists across the nation, about 15,000 will become Finalists. In September of 2011, a year after taking the test, Nell received a message from a college that mentioned he was a Semifinalist. When he went to Trinity’s headmaster, Carl Warmouth, the scores had just arrived. Nell was one of the 212 students from Alabama to receive this honor. When asked how he prepared for the PSAT, he said he checked out SAT books from the library and began studying several weeks in advance. Nell, who hopes to attend the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, said he is excited and thankful for the opportunities that come with being a Semifinalist. “God has blessed me,” he said, referring to his test-taking abilities. Carl Warmouth also said he felt incredibly blessed by the distinction Trinity has received. He noted that the results of the test have been a credit to Christian schools all over the state. Forty-one percent of schools with Semifinalists in Alabama were Christian schools or homeschool umbrellas. “From the perspective of a parent with kids in a Christian school, and being an administrator of a Christian school, it is encouraging to see these kinds of results, especially when you consider that it is unlikely that Christian schools make up nearly 41 percent of the total schools in the state. There is obviously a much higher percentage of students in Christian schools and homeschool umbrellas being Semifinalists.” Warmouth says that Nell, a product of both homeschooling and Classical Christian education, is a “sharp and well rounded student. We are all proud of Elliot but not necessarily surprised. I believe that Elliot has what it takes to be successful at whatever he does.”

Student Writer Elizabeth Patton 


Posted on October 6, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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