Four Hamilton County seniors are National Merit Finalists
Posted on 02/17/2020
The four National Merit FinalistsThe list of National Merit Finalists released this week includes four seniors from Hamilton County Schools. Three of the four are from Signal Mountain Middle/High and one is from Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences. Students named finalists are the highest-scoring students in each state and continue in the competition for a National Merit Scholarship. These students represent the top 1.12 percent of seniors in the nation in academics.

National Merit Semifinalists
Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences
Sofia R. McDonough

Signal Mountain Middle/High
Jackson Cannon
Maggie Meller
Gabe Williams

Students begin the National Merit process during their junior year by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test(PSAT/NMSQT). More than 1.5 million juniors in high schools across the country took the test this year. The test evaluates the student’s critical reading, math, and writing skills. These four Finalists now have the opportunity to win three different scholarship types offered through the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Scholarships funded by over 400 sponsors and funds from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation provide college resources for these deserving teens.

Scholarships include the National Merit Scholarship, a one-time $2,500 award, for which every Finalist competes. There are also Corporate-sponsored scholarships given to students with career plans the sponsor wishes to encourage. College-sponsored scholarships are given to students with plans to attend a sponsor’s college and are renewable for up to four years. Scholarships are awarded from March to June to approximately 7,500 Finalists, chosen based on their abilities, skills, and accomplishments.

Sofia McDonough, a senior at Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences, is interested in a career in a STEM field. She has volunteered at the Tennessee Aquarium during her time in high school and is very interested in the environment. At Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences, McDonough has been active in volleyball, Student Government Association, Paideia Society, Model UN, Governor’s School for Visual Arts, TSA, Youth Orchestra, and CSAS Orchestra.

Jackson Cannon, a senior at Signal Mountain Middle/High, is involved in the Model UN, Beta Club, and the National Honor Society, and he is on the bowling team at Signal Mountain. His career interests are undecided, but he is considering arts and sciences.

Maggie Meller, a senior at Signal Mountain Middle/High, would like to major and earn a master’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering with a minor in Industrial Packaging and Design. She is involved in Mock Trial and Model UN allowing her to combine academics and her love for theatre. Meller also served as student body president at Signal Mountain.

Gabe Williams, a senior at Signal Mountain Middle/High, plays tennis, is in the Student Council, vice president of the Signal Mountain Honors Society chapter, and he participates in Model UN and Youth in Government. He was individual singles state champion in tennis in 2018 and elected to the student council for the past three years. Williams is currently secretary of the student body. He would like to attend a small liberal arts college and plans to study chemistry.

Photo: (Top L to R) Sofia R. McDonough, Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences; and Jackson Cannon, Signal Mountain Middle/High (Bottom L to R) Maggie Meller and Gabe Williams, Signal Mountain Middle/High