Meridian High School senior John Landon Young's goal of attending Mississippi State University could be realized through the National Merit Scholarship Program.  

“It would be cool because more scholarships will come with it,” Young said. “It would help out a lot.”

Meridian, West Lauderdale students named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists

Bianca Moorman / The Meridian Star

Meridian High School senior John Landon Young was chosen as semifinalist in National Merit Scholarship program. 

Young is one of two local students named National Merit semifinalists in September. The other student is Railey Mayatt, a senior at West Lauderdale High School.

The National Merit Scholarship program was established in 1955 for high achieving high school students. To qualify, students have to take a PSAT/ National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test during their junior year. Students have to write an essay and meet certain academic requirements to be  considered a finalist. 

Finalists will be notified in February, and the winner will have a chance to win a $2,500 scholarship and other corporate merit or college merit scholarships.

Young, who plays football, tennis and soccer at Meridian High, said he applied for the scholarship after scoring well on the PSAT. 

With his busy schedule, he had to make time to study because he wanted to do well on the test, he said. 

Young, who said his hardest years were his sophomore and junior years, took the PSAT in October of his junior year. Once he took the test, he was anxious for the results.

Meridian, West Lauderdale students named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists

Submitted photo 

Railey Mayatt, a senior at West Lauderdale High School, was chosen as a semifinalist in the National Merit Scholarship program. 

“I had been asking my counselor. I probably got on her nerves because I had been bugging her about it,” Young said.

Young said he hasn’t decided on a college major, but he may study math and science. If he gets the scholarship, he plans to use the money to cover books and tuition.

Mayatt said she took a class to prepare for the PSAT. The class helped her to get a perfect ACT score of 36, which helped her qualify for the National Merit program, she said.

“I wasn’t expecting it because I didn’t think I did that good this time around,” she said.

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