By Brent Koenigsman Out of over one million competing students who take the PSAT, the National Merit Scholarship Program recognizes only 50,000 of the highest scoring test takers. Of those 50,000 only 15,000 nationwide are chosen as National Merit Scholarship Finalists. Lincoln High alone had 5 students who earned this impressive honor, the second most
By Brent Koenigsman
Out of over one million competing students who take the PSAT, the National Merit Scholarship Program recognizes only 50,000 of the highest scoring test takers. Of those 50,000 only 15,000 nationwide are chosen as National Merit Scholarship Finalists. Lincoln High alone had 5 students who earned this impressive honor, the second most in the city just behind Southwest.
National Merit finalists Micah Hadley, Kelsey Williams, Reed Broderson, Eve Dimagno, and Micaela Pacheco Ceballos pose next to Dr. Wortman outside of LHS. Photo by Phil Eddins
Senior Micaela Pacheco Ceballos worked hard to earn her Finalist spot, studying a lot and taking SAT practice tests to prepare. A Varsity Tennis player and member of the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, Pacheco Ceballos has a few titles to her name and can now add National Merit Scholar. Her advice to incoming students looking to succeed, “If you want to do well, you can’t slack off. You have to do your work.”
Pacheco Ceballos is looking to attend either Columbia or UC Berkely when she graduates this year. She’s unsure of what she would like to major in.
Eve Dimagno, another tennis player, IB student and a swimmer, prepared similarly to Pacheco Ceballos, taking SAT practice tests rather than ones for the PSAT because she thought “the questions were harder.” She said she “didn’t walk out of the PSAT thinking ‘I won’ or anything like that.” She did end up winning due to her hard work not just for the PSAT, but over high school as a whole. Dimagno would also like to attend Columbia but mostly “would like to leave Nebraska.” Dimagno is “decidedly undecided” about her major.
IB student Kelsey Williams was “pleasantly surprised” to be named a National Merit Scholar Finalist. Williams gave at least some of the credit to “a good night’s sleep and a good breakfast.” Of course, more went into it than that. Williams has been a consistently high achiever in school and is now seeing her hard work pay off. She’s “excited” about her accomplishment because “it feels good to be super attractive to colleges.” After high school, Williams plans on going to UNL as a science major and later hopes to study neonatology. Williams encourages students with similar goals to “stay organized, on top of things and do things thoroughly.”
Micah Hadley, another IB student, said “I remembered everyone being really stressed about really studying for it, and I was like ‘I’m not gonna be like that, I’ll go in and I’ll do alright if I get a good night’s sleep.’” Hadley went on to say he looked at the practice book “maybe once.” A Lincoln High tennis and baseball player, Micah said another one of his study methods, which may seem unorthodox, was getting up and “working out really hard” in the morning. About being a finalist, Hadley said it feels “good to have it under my belt, but also I’m trying not to put too much weight on it.” When he graduates, Hadley would like to go into architecture and go to Washington University.
Reed Broderson is the only National Merit Scholar who is not an IB student. He does, however, attend the science focus program that most students know as Zoo School. He’s involved in lots of clubs at Zoo School and also a member of Lincoln Volunteers. Broderson said he “studied a lot for the PSAT. I took a class and took three or four full SATs.” His hard work paid off and he reminded prospective scholars “don’t underestimate practice.” Broderson thinks it’s “really cool” that he’s a finalist. When he graduates he wants to get his Master’s Degree in Botany or Environmental studies at Duke or Wake Forest.