24 area National Merit semifinalists announced

24 area National Merit semifinalists announced

Six Signal Mountain seniors are among

September 11th, 2018 by Susan Pierce in Local Regional News

For the first time since its opening in 2008, Signal Mountain Middle-High School leads the area in students named National Merit Semifinalists.

Six Signal Mountain seniors are among the 24 regional high school students announced Tuesday as National Merit Scholarship semifinalists by the National Merit Scholarship Corp.


Baylor School: Jackson C. Collette, Linghan Kong, Ryker von Klar

Chattanooga Christian School: Daniel Dassow

East Hamilton Middle-High School: Benjamin Nelson

Homeschool: Ethan G. Schubert

McCallie School: James G. Leung, McCracken V. Poston, Thomas A. Shikoh, Harrison S. Stuart

Ooltewah High School: Carter J. Smith

Sewanee-St. Andrew’s School: Sophia Patterson

Signal Mountain Middle-High School: Friedrich “Max” Burk, David Cornea, Paolo P. Iacoponi, Jacob Little, Emily G. Perez, Jack Poss

Soddy-Daisy High School: Jacob R. DiChiacchio

Stem School: Noah W. Keef

Tullahoma High School: Aimee C. Christopher, Madison C. Dochety

Calhoun High School: James M. Turner

Dalton High School: Jackson L. Wright

Source: National Merit Scholarship Corp.

"Congratulations to the amazing staff, former principal Todd Stinson, last year's administrative team and the parents for the roles they played in supporting these students along the way," said Dr. Shane Harwood, who is in his first year as Signal Mountain Middle-High School principal.

"It is through a collective commitment to excellence in teaching and learning that our students aim for and reach the very highest of goals. We're so excited to see what the future holds for them."

Harwood said there will be celebrations in coming weeks to recognize the six academic achievers.

"What's special to me, coming from Nolan Elementary here on Signal, is that I've had the pleasure of seeing these kids come up through the grades, and it's amazing to look back and find four of our former Nolan students in the six. It's a validation to the elementary staff who laid the groundwork," Harwood added.

The process of becoming a semifinalist begins during the junior year of high school when students take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. More than 1.6 million juniors in 22,000 high schools across the nation took the test last year, according to the National Merit Scholarship Corp. Of those, 16,000 reached semifinalist status.

Students named semifinalists are the highest-scoring entrants in each state, a ranking that includes fewer than 1 percent of all U.S. high school seniors.

In addition to the 22 honorees in area Tennessee high schools, there were two in North Georgia high schools but none in Northeast Alabama schools.

All National Merit semifinalists now have the opportunity to compete for $31 million in National Merit Scholarships, which will be awarded in spring 2019.

Contact staff writer Susan Pierce at spierce@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6284.