Cloverleaf High School senior Sarah Winnicki is poised to join elite company.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, and best-selling author Stephenie Meyer, are among the prominent figures who achieved National Merit Scholar honors.
“I’m excited,” said Winnicki, adding she is proud to represent Cloverleaf in the competition.
It’s a rigorous process that begins with some 1.5 million entrants who take a Preliminary SAT and National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, usually during the junior year of high school. Only about 15,000 of the highest-scoring students advance through the next levels and reach the status of finalist.
Winners are selected on the basis of academic record, his or her school’s curricula and grading system, test scores, a high school official’s written recommendation, the student’s activities and leadership, as well as an essay written by the finalist. Approximately 8,300 finalists will receive $2,500 Merit Scholarship awards. Finalists may receive additional awards from corporate sponsors and from the college he or she attends.
Winnicki said she has narrowed her college choices, but has not yet made a final decision. She plans to pursue a double major in history and ecology, with the goal of becoming a university professor.
During her career at Cloverleaf, Winnicki has been involved in activities including Academic Challenge and HUDDLE/SHUDDLE. She is president of the National Honor Society and founder of the Cloverleaf High School History Club, which has grown to 48 members in just its first year.
Her parents are Amy and Tim Winnicki of Lafayette Township. In addition to her teachers at Cloverleaf, Winnicki credits her mom with fostering her interest in history and nature -- especially birding.
“My mother is amazing,” Winnicki said.
For more on the National Merit program, click http://www.nationalmerit.org/.