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NFA Senior Jacob Johnston Semi-Finalist for National Merit Scholarship Program


Jacob Johnston, 12th grade scholar at Newburgh Free Academy’s Main Campus is a semi-finalist for the 2021 National Merit Scholarship program. After graduating from Newburgh Free Academy, Jacob plans to attend college to study computer science. Jacob plans to be a software developer or entrepreneur. Prior to entering NFA Main, Jacob attended Horizons on the Hudson and Heritage Middle School.

Aside from academic excellence, Jacob has played tennis since he was 9th grade and made the Varsity team his junior year. Additionally, Jacob has played the trumpet since he was in 3rd grade. Jacob is also a member of the NFA Debate Team. Jacob thinks back fondly to his days in elementary school, remembering his favorite teacher, “My favorite teacher was my 5th grade teacher, Ms. Hoffman, who let us do lots of creative writing. I had a lot of fun in that class, making comic books and written stories.”

Outside of school, Jacob has explored his interest in computer science in a variety of ways. He has taken online classes, independent of his high school curriculum. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Jacob has developed a simple mobile game called “Orbit Hit,” available on the iOS app store. Jacob is currently interested in web development and created the game for fun as a way to develop his skills. Jacob was the winner of the Hudson Valley Hackathon in 2019 and 2020, in which groups had to develop application prototypes and pitch their creations to judges. Jacob is currently working on a website for practice. The concept is basically a stock market for YouTube channels.

More about the National Merit Scholarship Program:

Over 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors. To become a Finalist, the Semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the Semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, and write an essay. From the approximately 16,000 Semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation.

Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit® $2500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 220 corporations and business organizations for Finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located. In addition, about 180 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,100 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2021 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more than 353,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.


ATTENTION: Are your scholars or colleagues doing something great? Please contact the district Communications Strategist, Cassie Sklarz (csklarz@necsd.net). We’d love to visit your class or event and/or post your pictures and recap to highlight the amazing accomplishments throughout our district!







Date: 2020-11-13 14:01:15





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