Four BHS Seniors Named 2017 National Merit Semifinalists

posted Sep 18, 2016, 7:12 AM by District Webmaster   [ updated Sep 19, 2016, 2:47 PM ]
The National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced that four Bartlesville High School seniors have been named Semifinalists in the 62nd annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Approximately 16,000 students were selected nationwide. These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth about $33 million that will be offered next spring.

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship® award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. About 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and about half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title.

The corporation, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 420 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.

Steps in the 2017 Competition

About 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2015 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 his or her high school 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, write an essay, and earn SAT® scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

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. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of Finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.

National Merit Scholarships

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2017. 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 230 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 190 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,000 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2017 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more than 323,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.

Pranoy Behera


Pranoy Behera is the son of Babaji and Sushrita Behera. He has been a member of the National Technical Honor Society and is now President of the National Honor Society. Pranoy has been a member of the Symphonic Orchestra and was selected for All District Orchestra for the last three years. He is also in the Debate club, Interact club, Technology Student Association, and Young Democrats. He is a member of the National Society of High School Scholars and went to Boys Nation in the summer of 2016. In his spare time, he volunteers and tutors students at On the Rock Ministries and volunteers for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma. Pranoy also enjoys math, following politics, following baseball, and reading. 

 
Pranoy Behera

Melody Brown-Clark

Melody Brown-Clark is the daughter of Malinda Brown and Del Clark. She has been a member of District Honor Choir, All-State Honor Choir, the Oklahoma Ambassadors of Music, and BHS Jazz Choir. She has been in 11 play and musical productions with the BHS theatre department and 7 musical productions with Children’s Musical Theatre. She is Vice-President of National Honor Society and is a member of the National Society of High School Scholars. She is a former USAG gymnast and UCA All-American cheerleader who performed at the Houston Thanksgiving Day Parade and the 2014 Sugarbowl. She was part of the BHS orchestra ensemble that won the title of Grand Champions at the 2015 Winter Park Music Festival. She is a Davidson Young Scholar. In her spare time, she enjoys singing, dancing, playing the guitar, and performing at local fundraisers.

 
Melody Brown-Clark

Abigail Hales


Abigail Hales is the daughter of Robert Hales. At BHS she has been involved in a variety of activities including National Honor Society, Student Council, Debate, and Youth Court. She is a past member of the BHS volleyball team and is now a member of the cross country team. Abby enjoys reading, choir, and playing soccer. She is involved in the youth program at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and is a Girl Scout. 

 
Abigail Hales

Jack Williams

Jack Williams is the son of John and Stevie Williams. He is an Eagle Scout and a two-time national qualifier in Debate. He is involved in Young Democrats, Youth Court, Cross Country, National Honor Society, and is a waiter at Ocean China. Jack supported the recent successful school bond issues by giving presentations to community groups.
 
Jack Williams