PCA’s Maddie Jeffery Named 2022 National Merit Semifinalist

 In Academics

Prattville Christian Academy senior Maddie Jeffery was named a National Merit Semifinalist in the 67th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Maddie is one of only 16,000 students nationwide and PCA’s first semifinalist in the school’s 24-year history. As a National Merit Semifinalist, Maddie will compete for approximately 7,500 scholarships worth more than $30 million in the spring semester.

Maddie began this journey long before this week’s announcement. To be considered for this prestigious program, she took the 2020 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) as a junior, which officially qualified her for the program. The 16,000 students make up less than one percent of all U.S. high school seniors, and include the highest-scoring entries in each state.

“When I was called out of class to find out that I was a National Merit Semifinalist, I was completely shocked,” said Maddie Jeffery. “The moments of surprising my friends, family, and teachers with the great news are some I will always cherish. I didn’t expect this to happen, and I am so thankful for everything that PCA has done to help me get to this point. God has blessed me with many incredible relationships that have driven me to work hard, think critically, and learn effectively. I would definitely not be where I am without this supportive school family.”

Semifinalists named in each year’s scholarship program show exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies, but that’s only part of the program. As Maddie competes to become a National Merit Finalist, she must meet additional standards and requirements, including having a record of a high academic performance in college preparatory course work, submitting stellar SAT or ACT scores, and receiving the full recommendation of her high school. She will work to submit a detailed essay that provides the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) selection committee with a thorough record of her activities and volunteer service, leadership positions, honors and awards, and employment. 

“Maddie is an outstanding student,” said Pat Dean, PCA’s upper school guidance counselor.  “She challenges herself and strives to always do her best. She is very involved in school clubs and activities and can always be called upon to take a leadership role.”

On campus, Maddie is just another student enjoying her senior year. She’s active in PCA’s National Honor Society, Journalism Club, Mu Alpha Theta, Cross Country, Engineering Academy, several honors classes, and a dual enrollment course. Even when she’s not in class at PCA, she is taking online courses through Brigham Young University’s independent study program to diversify her course load.

“Although I am the first in school history to become a Semifinalist, I am proud to acknowledge the path that past Commended students have laid for my success and hope to widen that road for future students to join me in this great honor,” said Jeffery. It took diligence, fortitude, and a lot of willpower to get here, but I could not be happier with the result. My biggest hope is that I can use this experience to glorify God, who has an amazing plan to bless those who love Him, as well as inspire my peers to keep working hard and taking advantage of every opportunity they can. I will certainly not be the last Semifinalist from PCA!”

From the group of Semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level, and will be notified in February 2022. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from the group of Finalists and announced in April-July. The recipients will join more than 353,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title since the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) inception in 1955.

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