Princeton-bound Samantha Melton, a senior at Dr. TJ Owens Gilroy Early College Academy, was named a 2019 National Merit Scholar winner, according to an announcement from Gilroy Unified School District.
Melton, who was honored by the Board of Education for her accomplishment earlier this month, is the first-ever National Merit Scholarship finalist out of GECA.
The National Merit Scholarship Program honors individual students across the country who demonstrate exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies.
Melton, who qualified for the $2,500 National Merit Scholarship to help with school expenses, was among 7,500 scholarship recipients chosen from a pool of 15,000 semifinalists. She will attend Princeton University in the fall of 2019.
About 1.6 million juniors across the country entered the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2017 Preliminary SAT, which is used as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. From the pool of students who entered the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program, only about 16,000, or 1 percent, were named Semifinalists.
Semifinalists are designated on a state representational basis, in proportion to each state’s percentage of the national total of graduating high school seniors.
In order to advance in the competition and be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, Melton became a finalist by fulfilling several requirements that included submitting a detailed scholarship application and presenting a record of very high academic performance.
Less than 0.5 percent of the high school juniors who take the qualifying examinations are named National Merit Scholarship winners.