National Merit Scholarship finalists

Three Glynn County students were recently named National Merit Scholarship finalists. Pictured above are Glynn Academy student Michael Mitchell, from left, Glynn County Schools Superintendent Virgil Cole and Brunswick High School students Denise Peifer and Ian Carpenter.

The National Merit Scholarship Cooperation recently announced the semifinalists in its 2020 National Merit Scholarship program, and three Glynn County students were among the approximately 16,000 students recognized as semifinalists.

Brunswick High School students Denise Peifer and Ian Carpenter and Glynn Academy student Michael Mitchell were named semifinalists this year.

“It is amazing to think that out of 21,000 high schools in the entire nation, Glynn County had 100 percent representation with regard to this prestigious award,” said Slade Turner, principal at Brunswick High School, in a press release sent by Glynn County Schools.

To qualify, students had to receive the highest scores, or place in the top 1 percent of juniors, on the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test in their respective states. In Georgia, the top PSAT score is 220.

Nationwide, more than 1.5 million juniors representing about 21,000 high schools entered the 2020 National Merit pool, according to the National Merit Scholarship website. About 90 percent of those students will be named finalists in February, with an opportunity to compete for one of 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million in total.

“It is great that one of our higher-achieving students is getting national recognition for all of their hard work,” said Matthew Blackstone, principal at Glynn Academy.

To become a finalist, eligible seniors must submit an application that includes academic transcripts, write an essay, submit SAT or ACT scores and receive a high school official’s letter of recommendation.

In addition to the student’s academic record, the application also includes participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment and honors and awards received.

The students were honored Oct. 3 at the Glynn County Board of Education meeting, at which they received certificates of excellence.

“It’s an amazing honor,” Turner said at the meeting. “You’re talking about the people who scored the highest on the PSAT out of everybody else in the state of Georgia, and to have three of those individuals in this county is pretty amazing.”

Spotlight on Schools appears Thursdays. Contact Lauren McDonald at or at 912-265-8320, ext. 322 to suggest a topic for a column.

More from this section

Business leaders in a number of Georgia industries in the last several years held to a common refrain — there are good jobs to be found, but not enough qualified people to fill them. State Senate study committees addressing that and the legal costs of doing business in Georgia wrapped up Tue…