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BHS student is Merit semi-finalist

A Brookhaven High School senior is already working hard to makea name for herself and has gained national attention for herefforts.

Marley Braden, the 17-year-old daughter of Dr. David and KarenBraden of Brookhaven, has been named a semifinalist in the 48thannual National Merit Scholarship Program.

She joins 154 stellar high school seniors across the state and16,000 students in the country in making the first round of thecompetition, which had more than 1.3 million applicants.

“I’m excited about it,” said Braden. “I’ve wanted to be anational merit since sixth grade.”

The honor gives her the opportunity to continue in thecompetition for some 8,000 Merit Scholarship awards that will beoffered next spring.

To become finalists, semifinalists must have a record of veryhigh academic performance, be endorsed and recommended by theirhigh school principal, and earn SAT scores that confirm theirearlier qualifying test performance.

Braden has only made two B’s in her four years of high school,which began at Jackson Preparatory School and continued at BHS whenshe and her parents and siblings moved to Brookhaven about twoyears ago.

“I’m graduating early, in December, so I can go to Africa,” shesaid about her plans for next spring.

She will spend two months with missionaries in Africa to learnmore about the type of field she hopes to work in later.

“I want to be a doctor missionary one day, and I want to open afree clinic,” said Braden.

Her plans are to continue her education next fall at BaylorUniversity or William and Mary College.

While her educational endeavors have played a big role in herselection as a semifinalist, the competition also selects studentsbased on their participation and leadership in school and communityactivities.

At BHS, Braden is the captain of the debate team and scholarsbowl team, as well as participating in forensics. She was also inthe Mississippi Girls Choir for five years.

She tries to be a “well-rounded person” with other activities,such as playing guitar, reading books and participating inballet.