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Twelve 2020 graduates receive college-sponsored National Merit Scholarships

The National Merit Scholarship Corp. has announced the first group of college-sponsored award winners from the Class of 2020, which includes a dozen new graduates of Fayette County Public Schools. The sponsors chose these scholars who plan to attend their institutions from a nationwide talent pool of more than 15,000 outstanding finalists. The awards provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study. 

From Henry Clay High School:

  • Bhoomi Shah, probable career field of medicine, University of Louisville 

Lafayette High School:

  • John Harris, engineering, University of Kentucky
  • Caden Pearson, law, University of Kentucky
  • Katrina Wrede, engineering, University of Kentucky

Paul Laurence Dunbar High School:

  • Niklas Balk, engineering, University of Kentucky
  • Henry Blyth, academia, Case Western Reserve University
  • Catheryne Cunningham, nonprofit management, Rhodes College
  • Kylie Schmidt, engineering, University of Kentucky
  • Parker Smith, quantitative analysis, Vanderbilt University
  • Eddy Wan, computer science, Purdue University
  • Elizabeth Weaver, international relations, Indiana University
  • Angie Xiao, law, University of Chicago

The 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program began in October 2018 when more than 1.5 million juniors in more than 21,000 high schools took the PSAT, which served as a qualifying test. In fall 2019, the highest-scoring participants in each state, representing less than 1 percent of the country’s high school seniors, became semifinalists. (FCPS had 45 semifinalists.) Of these 16,000 seniors, about 90 percent advanced as finalists. 

First came the April 22, 2020 announcement of corporate-sponsored winners and then $2,500 award recipients on May 13. Coming up July 13, additional college-sponsored scholars will be named. By the end of the 2020 program, about 7,600 students will have earned the “merit scholar” title and received a total of over $30 million in college scholarships. The students may use their awards at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university.



Tammy L. Lane, district webmaster
(859) 381-4236