BY JAMIE BARRAND
A Greencastle High School senior has made the first round of cuts and been named a National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist.
Griffin Moore, 18, is one of about 16,000 semi-finalists from across the United States. More than 1.5 million juniors from over 21,000 high schools entered the 2009 National Merit Program by taking the 2007 preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of semi-finalists, which represents less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.
The number of semi-finalists in a state is proportional to the state's percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.
"It was a complete surprise to me," Moore said.
Moore is the son of Mike and Becca Moore.
"My mom was very pleased," Moore said. "She knew more than I did about how prestigious (the Merit Scholarship) was."
Moore has taken some advanced placement classes at GHS, and has also taken courses at DePauw (psychology this year, sociology and government last year).
Moore is still "very much undecided" about what he wants to major in at college or do as a vocation.
"I just know I want to go to a small liberal arts college," he said. "Hopefully, I can use the first couple of years to decide what I want to do. I don't know … maybe I'll major in psychology or econ. I might want to be a teacher."
Moore is a lifetime Greencastle resident.
"I went to preschool at Peace Lutheran," he said. "It's been my whole life."
During his tenure at GHS, Moore has been involved in several activities. He has been on the soccer and basketball teams, and is a member of student council and National Honor Society.
He also joined the band at the beginning of the year.
"I play the trombone," he said. "I needed the class and they're going to New York, so I figured, why not?"
Moore's counselor, Shannon Fritz, said it's rewarding to see good students recognized for their efforts.
"It's always exciting when it happens," she said. "It's neat. We know them, we know how unique and special they are, but it's nice when others see it, too. And Griffin is one who has a tendency to downplay how special he is, so it's nice to see him get that attention."
About 15,000 semi-finalists will make it to the finalist level. Those names will be announced in February.
In the spring, about 8, 200 National Merit Scholarships, worth $2,500 each, will be awarded.
"It's not huge monetarily; it's more of a prestige thing," Fritz said. "Some colleges ask on applications if the student was a National Merit scholar. Sometimes colleges will sponsor scholarships for them because they were semi-finalists or finalists, and sometimes companies will."