Ramstein High School senior Mark Davis has recently been recognized as a National Merit Scholar semifinalist. He is the only one out of more than 1,000 students at Ramstein High School to receive this distinction. While approximately one-third of the 50,000 worldwide American entrants will become finalists in the program, this award is highly regarded and can result not only in recognition, but scholarship awards as well.
The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition that began in 1955. The entrants come from the nearly 1.5 million American students who take the preliminary SAT during the junior and senior years of their high school career. The NMSP is sponsored by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, which is a non-profit organization that seeks to identify and honor academically talented American students.
To achieve finalist status in the program, students must have scored in the top 1 percent of all PSAT test takers within their state, have an outstanding GPA, be recommended by their school’s principal and earn an SAT score that substantiates the student’s previous PSAT test score. In addition, finalists must complete an extensive application, submit an essay and supply information about their involvement in their school and community.
When asked why he had been so successful on the PSAT, Davis said he has always been a natural test taker who finds standardized tests to be much like a mind game or extended riddle. However, Davis also said the award blind-sided him and he is proud to be in a league with his brother, who also received the National Merit Scholar Award when he was in high school.
While Davis is quite modest about the award, many teachers at Ramstein High School said that not only is Davis an excellent academic student, but he also is a tremendous overall contributor to the Ramstein student body community.
In addition to excelling in academics, Davis also acts for the drama club, runs track, is a member of the science club and competes in the European science championships. He also is the video club treasurer and secretary, is a manager for the brain bowl competition, sings for the choir, and has participated in the creative connections program.
In February, Davis will find out whether he advances to the National Merit Scholarship finalist level. At that point, he is eligible to apply for the $2,500 scholarship.