Meritorious Achievement

Published 7:00 pm Friday, March 11, 2011

Brookhaven High School earned the ranking of a high performingschool, watched their football team make a run at a statechampionship and can now add a National Merit Scholarship Programfinalist to the list of achievements.

The program has 1.5 million entrants and only about 15,000applicants are selected as finalists. In February, BHS senior SeanNations and his school learned that he was one.

Nations mentioned not being completely shocked, but the news didcome as a surprise.

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“You always hear about kids that have been building robots sincethey were in diapers,” he joked. “I’ve never really done anythinglike that.”

Nations gained entry to the program by taking the PreliminarySAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

He qualified as a semifinalist after scoring in the 99thpercentile. Then, after scoring a 2100 on his SAT and a closer lookat his application – Nations became a finalist in the academiccompetition.

“He’s actually our fourth in the last couple of years,” said BHSPrincipal Dr. Jay Smith. “Certainly, any time you have a meritfinalist you bring some notoriety to the school, which weappreciate.”

Nations has earned $12,000 in scholarship money through theprogram. However, that is not the only money he will be slippinginto his college fund. Nations said he has amassed $50,000 to$60,000, which will be stretched out over four years ofcollege.

“It will really help out with college,” said Nations of themerit scholarship.

Some students devote hours to getting math problems correct,studying passages and memorizing facts.

Nations leaves most of his work at school. He said he tries tocomplete his homework at school in his office aid hours andadmitted he never really had to study, but thinks he could if itwas necessary.

“I like to read the textbooks, that’s the extent of mystudying,” said Nations. “I never really thought about it asstudying.”

Nations has been teaching guitar since he was a freshman atBrookhaven Music and Sound. He said he enjoys watching TV, being onthe computer and hanging out with a wide range of friends.

Surprisingly, Nations said his grades may have slippedrecently.

He has caught a case of “Senioritis.” But he said it is no causefor concern – he will buckle down when necessary.

“I know it’s not as important to keep (grades) up anymore.College is pretty much a done deal,” said Nations. “I don’t have tojump through hoops.”

Nations said he will be attending Mississippi State Universityto study engineering and has given thought to attending MIT.

“I just make sure I pursue my interests,” said Nations.”Definitely don’t just wonder about something and not pursueit.”