national merit

Hardin County Schools has four students who have recently been notified that they are National Merit semifinalists.  Central Hardin High School’s Garrett Ashlock, Alyssa Davis and Robert Sego and as well as John Hardin High School’s Lily Vowels are now among the nation’s top 16,000 students.  Vowels and Sego are students at the Gatton Academy located on the Western Kentucky University campus. 

According to its website (, the National Merit® Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®) — a test which serves as an initial screen of approximately 1.5 million entrants each year — and by meeting published program entry and participation requirements.

Of the 1.5 million entrants, some 50,000 with the highest PSAT/NMSQT® Selection Index scores qualify for recognition in the National Merit® Scholarship Program. About 16,000 students, or approximately one-third of the 50,000 high scorers, are notified that they have qualified as Semifinalists in September of each year. To ensure that academically talented young people from all parts of the United States are included in this talent pool, semifinalists are designated on a state-representational basis. They are the highest scoring entrants in each state.

“We are happy anytime a student wins any award,” Central Hardin High School principal Tim Isaacs said.  “However, when you hear that some of your students have earned the classification of National Merit Semifinalist, you can’t help but be simply elated.  I’m truly excited for Garrett, Alyssa and Robert.  Central Hardin has a tradition of success and these three students are carrying it forward with pride.”

“Lily has worked very hard in and out of the classroom throughout her academic career and it has more than paid off,” John Hardin High School principal Mark Wells said.  “She is a representative of the true academic success we enjoy each day here at John Hardin High School.  Our John Hardin family is beyond proud of her.  All accolades are great, but this award is truly special.”

Vowels plans on pursuing an advanced degree in either Geology or Earth System Studies. She would like to work for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or  the United States Geological Survey.  She has not made a college.choice.  

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