Two Students Selected as National Merit® $2,500 Scholarship Winners

Two Students Selected as National Merit® $2,500 Scholarship Winners
Posted on 05/08/2024
Two Students Selected as National Merit® $2,500 Scholarship Winners

The School District of Lee County is proud to announce Dunbar High School Seniors Advaith Menon and Jaansi Parsa have been selected as National Merit $2,500 scholarship winners. The $2,500 Merit Scholar recipients were chosen from a talent pool of more than 15,000 outstanding Finalists in the 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program.

"Having multiple National Merit Scholars like Jaansi Parsa, Advaith Menon, and Jakob Musich signifies more than just academic excellence,” said Dunbar High School Principal Carl Burnside. “It symbolizes a community enriched by individuals who not only excel in the classroom but also seize every opportunity with unwavering determination. Their journey extends far beyond the confines of mere recognition; it resonates with state, national, and even global acclaim. They epitomize the essence of embracing every challenge and turning it into an opportunity for extraordinary achievement."

Menon and Parsa are part of the International Baccalaureate program and Technology Academy at Dunbar. Menon is planning to study Computer Engineering and Parsa Computer Science.

“I'd like to thank Dunbar for providing with the opportunities I needed to prepare for and succeed in the National Merit program,” Advaith Menon said. “I have felt that everyone, from the teachers to the administration to my fellow peers, have been ready and willing to help me every step of the way, and I couldn't have it without them.” Jaansi Parsa added, "I am extremely thankful to National Merit for their help towards funding my college education and grateful to my school, teachers, and parents for their constant encouragement and support."

National Merit Program $2,500 Scholarship winners are the Finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The number of winners named in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the nation’s graduating high school seniors.

These Scholars were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors, who appraised a substantial amount of information submitted by both the Finalists and their high schools: the academic record, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from two standardized tests; contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the Finalist; and a recommendation written by a high school official.

This year’s National Merit Scholarship Program began in October 2022 when high school juniors took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. Last fall, the highest-scoring participants in each state, representing less than one percent of the nation’s high school seniors, were named Semifinalists on a state-representational basis. Only these 16,000 Semifinalists had an opportunity to continue in the competition.

From the Semifinalist group, some 15,000 students met the very high academic standards and other requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. By the conclusion of the 2024 program, about 6,879 Finalists will have earned the “Merit Scholar” title and received a total of over $26 million in college scholarships. College sponsored Merit Scholarships will be announced in June.