The student news site of Allen High School.

The Eagle Angle

The student news site of Allen High School.

The Eagle Angle

The student news site of Allen High School.

The Eagle Angle

Making History

David Hicks
The 42 National Merit finalists with their certificates at the Allen High School Performing Arts Center, Friday, Feb. 23, 2024.

On Feb. 23, 2024 a school record of 42 students were recognized for being named National Merit finalists.

Behind that number, are 42 students who have challenged themselves academically and prevailed victorious.

“I was pretty excited about it [becoming a finalist],” senior Warith Rahman said. “Admittedly, after I got my score, I was really nervous about whether I’d make the cut or not, but after seeing the cutt off, getting that announcement was pretty relieving.”

Rahman was not the only one who was excited to find out about advancing to finals. 

“I was really excited about becoming a finalist, because I’ve kinda wanted to be a finalist for awhile, so that was something I was happy about,” senior Blake Maulsby said.

Becoming a National Merit finalist is not an easy feat, as those who earn the title of becoming a National Merit finalist have to be less than the top 1% in each state. To overcome this challenge, students practice and utilize different strategies that help them perform well on the test and exhibit their academic ability.

“I loved using Khan Academy for practice,” senior Fayyad Hasnain said. “That helped me a lot because it tells you what you get wrong, how to improve, but honestly I felt the biggest strategy for going in taking the PSAT for the competitions is that it’s just a test you know, a bunch of questions to fill out, it doesn’t define you if you don’t make it or anything like that.”

Test anxiety is also an obstacle that can derail testers during the timed test, but that did not stop Rahman from displaying his academic ability.

“For me personally, I think test anxiety didn’t really affect me because I do a lot of competition test taking so that wasn’t much of an issue,” Rahman said.

Becoming a National Merit finalist is not only beneficial for its prestigious title, but also that it could potentially grant scholarships to these students to jumpstart their higher academic career. These scholarships are awarded to 7,880 students by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, and each finalist is awarded $2,500 to use for educational purposes.

“If I do get it [scholarship], [I’ll] probably use it for whatever expenses I need for college.” Maulsby said.

These scholarships greatly benefit students in their journey to advancing to college and their respective careers, and sets a foundation in having resources to follow their passions and goals.

“Obviously the scholarship helps me a lot to pay off college, and then certain schools that I’ve applied to have national merit packages that go just beyond their finalists scholarships, so it definitely opens a lot of doors for me,” Hasnain said.

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About the Contributor
Trisha Arefeen
Trisha Arefeen, Copy Editor
"This is my first year as an editor and I’m so excited to be covering stories about our school and students! In my free time I love to watch shows and movies, especially anything Bollywood!"

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    Maheen ZamanMar 20, 2024 at 3:53 pm

    Amazing work Trisha!