Our Own National Merit Scholar

Holt High School has one lucky National Merit Scholarship finalist, Ethan Dunsworth(21).

Leah Huitt

Holt High School has one lucky National Merit Scholarship finalist, Ethan Dunsworth(21).

Holt High School is thrilled to announce that we have a student finalist for the National Merit Scholarship Program. The National Merit Scholarship Program is a competition for students based off of academics for scholarships that has been going on since 1955. Around 1.5 million students join this program each year. Students enter by taking a Preliminary Qualifying test. Out of 1.5 million entrants, only around 50,000 get recognition from the program each year. About two-thirds of the recognized 50,000 (around 34,000) receive Commendation letters. Lastly, around 15,000-16,000 of entrants become semi-finalists and then finalists.

The few winners of the finalist group are chosen based on their skills, abilities, and accomplishments. The National Merit is a $2,500 scholarship. The competing winners are chosen by a committee of college admission officers and high school counselors. They disregard family financial situations, college choice, and career plans.

Our lucky finalist, Ethan Dunsworth(21) has a 4.61 GPA(grade-point average) and scored a 1540 on his SAT. Dunsworth has also been ranked second in his Holt Indian class.

“Over the course of my high school career, I’d say I’m most proud of my research on the efficiency of a nuclear fusion reactor,” Dunsworth said. “With college applications, COVID chaos, and a full course load of AP classes, my project quickly became a lot more difficult than I had anticipated. But after six months and a few dozen all-nighters, I managed to exceed what I thought, for the longest time, were impossibly ambitious goals. My project gave me the opportunity to dive deep into a topic that has enchanted me for the longest time and make something I think could really help people down the line.”

 Dunsworth was awarded first place at the High School Honors Division of Missouri’s Tri-County Regional Science and Engineering Fair last February. Dunsworth was also awarded with the Air Force Research Award as well as the Navy Research Award for his project. Ethan Dunsworth is a part of Holt’s Scholar Bowl, National Honor Society(NHS) and Future Business Leaders of America. He is also the control lead and a programmer for the WSD Ratchet Rockers, a robotics club.

In college, Dunsworth plans to study plasma, nuclear physics and energy engineering. Dunsworth’s strong academic record has made him liable to become a finalist for this competition. During the spring season of 2021, around half of the finalists for the National Merit Scholarship will be chosen as winners.

All Holt can say to Ethan is good luck and congratulations on making it this far. The scholarship competition is a huge challenge and to become a finalist is a great accomplishment.