Talon News - Good Local News

By Renee Bailey



December 1, 2017

Renee Bailey

Brandon McReynolds

Aztec has reason to be proud of one of its sons. Brandon McReynolds, an Aztec High School student, is a semi-finalist for the National Merit Scholarship. The process to reach the semi-finalist stage "was not easy," said Brandon. He began preparing for this at the end of his freshman year. With the help and support of his family he studied and prepared for the PSAT/SAT that he had to take his junior year to begin the process of applying for this prestigious scholarship award.

The National Merit Scholarship committee released a list of the 2018 semi-finalists. According to their release, approximately 1.6 million students across the country applied to the National Scholarship program for the 2018 award year. This program oversees the process by which the various scholarships are awarded to these very hard working students. 16,000 students are selected as semi-finalists and then they must complete an application process that contains a self-descriptive essay, submit their high school course work and grades and include a description of all of their extra curricular and volunteer activities. All of these things, plus the PSAT/SAT scores are considered when selecting the finalists. Test takers must be within the top 1% of students in their home state to qualify to continue the process. The PSAT/SAT currently serves as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT). These exams measure critical reading ability, mathematics, problem solving ability and writing ability with answers given to standardized multiple choice questions. In order to receive the stipend granted, the student must enroll in a regionally accredited school with a program of study that will result in a Bachelors degree. Some scholarships are given to those that qualify, but have a very specific area of interest, such as engineering or business. Brandon hopes to attend New Mexico Tech or New Mexico State University with the goal of becoming a chemical engineer and a focus on environmental issues.

Brandon scored in that elite 1% with a score of over 1500 on his SAT exam, out of a possible 1600, and that should be enough to secure his spot as a finalist in February. Brandon has led the recycling club at the high school and runs a group that tutors those that need a little extra help. His leadership skills make him stand out among his classmates, and will hopefully help him to gain additional scholarships, as well as through his college of choice. Brandon is an amazing young man with goals that will make him one to watch in the future. This young man is definitely one to keep an eye out for in the future.


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