TROY — Troy High School seniors Savannah Swanson and Luke Huber have both been named National Merit Finalists by the National Merit Scholarship program.
Last fall, both students were named National Merit Semifinalists after scoring in the top 1% of all students who took the PSAT test. Roughly 16,000 students in the United States were named semifinalists.
After being recognized as semifinalists last fall, Swanson and Huber fulfilled additional requirements, including completing an application, having a consistently very high academic record, writing an essay, being endorsed and recommended by a school official, and taking the SAT or ACT and earning a score that confirmed their PSAT/NMSQT performance.
Both were pleasantly surprised when they found out they had been named a finalist.
“It was a bigger surprise, because this one’s a lot tougher to get,” Huber said. “It was just a big surprise and a lot of excitement comes with it. I got to get out of class and call my mom and dad; it was just really exciting.”
“I was super honored,” she said. “It’s such a big deal to have made that jump, and it was definitely not expected. I had no idea the results were coming out, so when I was called down to the office, I was kind of like, “Ok, this is happening again.’ But it’s really exciting and it’s such an incredible honor.”
Both are now eligible for one of the 7,250 National Merit Scholarships that will be awarded. They also said having this honor likely will help them as they apply for other scholarships, as well.
“Obviously it helps with scholarships, because it’s something really big that I can put on applications, and I think it shows how I’ve done academically throughout the years,” Swanson said. “There are scholarships that come, literally because of it, but I also think it shows how much work I’ve done, and anyone who sees this can see how much work I’ve put in. It’s awesome to have something physical like this to show for it.”
Just by being a National Merit Finalist, Huber said, he’ll be in the running for scholarships at Liberty University, where he plans on matriculating in the fall.
“In terms of the future, it opens up more opportunities for college scholarships,” Huber said. “I know at Liberty (University) they honor the National Merit stuff, so it should bring me in more scholarships and more opportunities that will help me succeed more in the future.”
Huber is a member of National Honor Society, Key Club, Business Club, the Patriot Club and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He’s on both the golf and basketball teams for the Trojans. Huber also is active in his church youth group at Christian Life Center in Dayton.
He has been set on going to Liberty University for quite some time; he said he plans to major in mechanical engineering in college. He said he feels his time at Troy High School has him well-prepared for college and beyond.
“It’s meant a lot,” Huber said of his time at Troy. “All of my teachers have really helped me. They’ve helped me learn a lot about myself and to grow as a person. They’ve pushed me to be where I’m at today.”
Swanson has been a member of ASTRA, Latin Club, Culture Club, National Honor Society, Math Cub and Drama Club. She’s also been a member of the Troy High School tennis and softball teams, as well as the Trojan Thunder traveling softball team. She enjoys the theater, and has appeared in “Shakespeare in Love” and “High School Musical” at the Troy Civic Theater. She was in the Troy High School production of “The Puffs” in the fall and is a member of the THS musical “Seussical” this spring. She also has volunteered with Reading Buddies, Lunch Buddies, Hayner Art Camps and at the park district.
After looking at a number of schools, Swanson has been accepted into the Honors Tutorial (HTC) program in communications at Ohio University. She’ll work closely with professors during her four years of undergraduate studies before writing a senior thesis.
“I’ll probably go to grad school,” she said. “I think I want to do something political; I really love argumentation. I’m not sure if that means being a lawyer or being a journalist.”
Like Huber, Swanson is appreciative of her Troy High School education.
“Honestly, it’s been incredible to be at Troy High School,” she said. “I’m so glad I moved to Troy when I was in the eighth grade. I think there have been some teachers who have really helped me along the way. Mrs. Watson was my English teacher in 10th grade, and I genuinely don’t think I could have made it to this point, my writing ability has improved so much, and I honestly owe that all to her. But there’s tons of other teachers throughout the years, and there’s been so much support from faculty and students.”