Chattanooga area’s National Merit scholarship winners include Signal Mountain, STEM, Tullahoma students

Staff file photo / In the first two rounds of announcements from the National Merit Scholarship Corp., Signal Mountain Middle/High School, seen on July 29, 2019, has two academic award recipients.

Three students from Signal Mountain and another from Tullahoma, Tennessee, have received awards in the first two rounds of scholarship notifications by the National Merit Scholarship Corp.

John Augustin Gibby, a senior at Signal Mountain Middle/High School, has been awarded a National Merit Rockwell Automation Scholarship. He is one of about 840 recipients nationwide whose scholarships are financed by corporations, company foundations and other business organizations. The amount of his scholarship was not disclosed. His probable career field is law, according to a news release.

Receiving $2,500 National Merit Scholarships, financed by the nonprofit corporation's own funds, are Taylor M. Donen, a Signal Mountain resident who attends STEM School Chattanooga; Signal Mountain Middle-High School student Jeffery Lin; and Tullahoma High School student Jackson C. Banks.

Donen's probable career field is biomedical engineering. Lin plans to pursue a career in bioinformatics, a field that develops computer technology to understand biological data. Banks' career interest is mechanical engineering.

Two more rounds of winners are yet to come. Some 3,800 recipients of college-sponsored merit scholarships will be announced June 7 and July 10.


High school juniors entered the 2023 National Merit Scholarship program when they took the 2021 preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship qualifying test, which served as an initial screening. In September 2022, more than 16,000 semifinalists were designated by state, based on numbers proportional to each state's percentage of graduating seniors. Semifinalists were the highest-scoring entrants in each state, representing less than 1% of the nation's seniors.

(READ MORE: National Merit semifinalists for 2023 include several from Chattanooga area)

Semifinalists had to fulfill other requirements to advance to finalist standing. Each was asked to complete a detailed scholarship application, which included writing an essay and providing information about extracurricular activities, awards and leadership positions. Semifinalists also had to have an outstanding academic record, be recommended by a high school official, and earn SAT or ACT scores that confirmed their qualifying test performance. From the initial group, more than 15,000 met finalist requirements.

By the conclusion of the 2023 competition, more than 7,140 finalists will have been selected for scholarships totaling nearly $28 million. Winners are the finalist candidates judged to have the strongest combination of academic skills and achievements, extracurricular accomplishments and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

According to the corporation, the majority of National Merit Scholarships are underwritten by 340 independent corporate and college sponsors that support its efforts to honor academic excellence.

(READ MORE: 29 Chattanooga-area students named semifinalists in 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program)

(READ MORE: 10 Chattanooga-area students awarded college-sponsored National Merit scholarships, 2021)

— Compiled by Lisa Denton