Hannah Wells has been named a National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist.
The 17 year-old daughter of Paul and Kristen Wells is one of 16,000 high school seniors whose PSAT scores earned her the status.
“It is exciting,” she smiled. “I really was not expecting it to be a big deal until a lot of people congratulated me.”
Riverview Opportunity Center Counselor Rick Dawson was the first to hear the good news and after his congratulations to the Bullitt Advanced Math and Science (BAMS) student.
To qualify as a National Merit Scholarship Finalist requires an essay and other assorted paperwork, including a letter of recommendation.
Hannah’s essay is on selective mutism.
“"Selective mutism is when a person can't speak in certain situations. It was difficult to get through,” she said.
Hannah confessed that she didn’t talk at school during her elementary school years.
This has changed since becoming a BAMS student.
“Everyone thought selective mutism would hold me back, but I was able to overcome it,” according to Hannah, who has blossomed in the rigorous curriculum.
Her course schedule includes Introduction to Sociology, Statistics 101, English 102, Technical Writing, US History through 1865, Comparative Religion and Humanities.
“It’s a lot of work but it’s all worth it,” Hannah attested. “My favorite subject is math because they are straightforward numbers over so much content. I also like Humanities.”
The BAMS program and a sophomore year practice exam proved conducive to PSAT preparation and Hannah hopes to receive another letter from the National Merit Scholarship Foundation later this school year.
She is interested in working in environmental sciences concentrating on sustainable life or become a professional musician. This clarinet player’s options are wide open.
Hannah was named a 2018 Governor’s Scholar and spent five weeks on a college campus in an even more challenging educational environment.
“GSP was an absolutely amazing experience,” Hannah said. “I made all kinds of new friends and participated in more activities than I thought possible. It was truly a game changing time in my life.”
She highly recommends anyone interested to apply for a spot in GSP.
“We focused on environmental issues in Kentucky, which was really amazing, and explored leadership and community building. It was all just so fantastic!” Hannah said.
Jenna Sharp has been named a National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist.
The 17 year-old daughter of Rachel and Isaiah Sharp is one of 16,000 high school seniors in the nation to qualify for the next step toward a prestigious National Merit Scholarship.
“My Mom was actually the first to find out and she told me,” Jenna said. “I told my Dad then my brother, Malachi, and my sister, Kylie.”
The journey to becoming a National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist begins when a high school junior makes a qualifying score on the PSAT.
Jenna remembers the test being easy in some ways and hard in others.
“I really wasn’t that nervous except knowing a time limit existed,” she said. “I like pressure but by not stressing I actually added pressure to the test.”
Jenna added if she had difficulty with one question, she put a little mark by it so, if she had time, she could come back and work on it.
She took a 2½ hour practice exam which gave insight into actual test. “It helped me on what to look for on the PSAT,” Jenna said.
To earn status as a National Merit Scholarship Finalist, Jenna has written an essay about the time she and her brother made a bungee cord to jump off their deck at home.
“We never actually made the jump but it was a memorable experience,” she smiled.
Jenna enjoys working as part of Cohort 6 in the Bullitt Advanced Math and Science (BAMS) Program and feels the college caliber classes properly prepared her for the PSAT.
“I heard the horror stories of BAMS not being the typical high school experience but then I got into it and all of a sudden I am building robots and boats,” she said. “I love math and science and BAMS challenges me more than I thought.”
Classes move at an accelerated rate for two years then BAMS students transition to the Bullitt County Campus of Jefferson Community and Technical College (JCTC) where upon successful course completion they earn 60 college credit hours upon high school graduation.
Jenna takes Pre-Calculus, Algebra II and Geometry and has polished her study habits since attending BAMS.
“It’s definitely a different class environment that pushes students in different ways,” she said.
Jenna offers the following advice for juniors preparing to take the PSAT.
“Don’t get too worked up about it,” she said. “Anxiety will not help. Make plans to take the practice test.”
Jenna has aspirations to become a computer engineer but is undecided on a college.
In her spare time, Jenna enjoys reading works of science fiction.