Maryville City Schools announces National Merit Scholars

Maryville City Schools today released the names of those students receiving a Letter of Commendation and those who will continue to compete as Semifinalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program (NMSP).

NMSP is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which serves as an initial screen of approximately 1.5 million entrants each year–and by meeting published program entry/participation requirements.

“These young scholars are academically gifted, and judging from each biography they are also great community volunteers, artists, musicians and athletes,” said Stephanie Thompson, Director of Maryville City Schools “We wish to congratulate our Commended Students, as well as each Semifinalist and their parents.”

Commended Students

In late September, more than two-thirds or about 34,000 of the approximately 50,000 high scorers on the PSAT/NMSQT® receive Letters of Commendation in recognition of their outstanding academic promise. Commended Students are named on the basis of a nationally applied Selection Index score that may vary from year to year and is below the level required for participants to be named Semifinalists in their respective states. Although Commended Students do not continue in the competition for National Merit® Scholarships, some of these students do become candidates for Special Scholarships sponsored by corporations and businesses.

• Ward Collins: Son of Tommy and Kim Collins. Will attend college to pursue interests in music and religion. Hoping to pursue a future in church leadership. High School Honors: Orchestra Letter (3 years), Swimming (2 years), National Honor Society. Ward swims on the varsity swim team, plays violin for the First Baptist Maryville Praise Band, and serves as leader of the Youth Praise Band.

• Kayla DeLong: Daughter of Renee and Robert DeLong. Hoping to attend her first choice college - Vanderbilt University. Possible majors of study include psychology, speech pathology, or linguistics. Recipient of school letters in Band and English. Kayla has been a band member since 2001 and is section letter this year in the Rebel Marching Band. She is involved in a variety of community service activities and is a member of the National Honors Society.

• Dylan DePonte: Son of Trent DePonte and Antje Gillingham. He hopes to major in biology or chemistry at Vanderbilt University. Honors include membership in National Honors Society and Maryville Scholars. Dylan enjoys participating in school plays.

• Bianca Fankhauser: Daughter of Bruno and Brigitte Fankhauser of Maryville. Bianca is still looking at a variety of colleges, but hopes to include medicine and business in her future. She is active in DECA, where she has advanced to compete in State and International level events. 1st place winner in the DECA regional role-play competition. Extracurricular activities include DECA, MHS Band, and National Honor Society.

• Bradley M. Fischer: Son of Timothy and Karen Fischer. Colleges of interest include University of Alabama, Washington University, Georgia Tech and Lipscomb. Possible majors include architecture, engineering or finance. This will be Brad’s fourth year on the varsity soccer team at MHS. He also played competitive soccer for the Blount United Soccer club since age 9. He is a member of the Fairview United Methodist Church and National Honor Society. He has been recognized as a Maryville Scholar and received academic letters in Math and Social Studies. His artist talent has earned him the Grand Prize in two local art shows.

• Stephen Kiningham: Son of Michael and Cindy Kiningham. Interested in majoring in computer science and has narrowed his college search to Furman, Wake Forest, Elon or Gettysburg College. Honors include Maryville Scholars and National Honor Society, as well as an academic letter in Math. Extracurricular activities include: Soccer, Science Bowl, Chess Team, Habitat for Humanity, Food Connection, biking and photography.

• Marta Lee: Daughter of Vickie and Paul Lee. Plans to pursue her interests in creative writing, studio art and music in college. Marta is a member of the National Honor Society, recycling club, marching band, printmaking and GSA. Marta has enjoyed participating with the MHS symphonic orchestra and her artwork was recently accepted at the KMA juried art show.

• Holly Metcalf: Daughter of David and Kelly Metcalf. While her college plans are undecided at this time, her interests include mathematics and business. Extracurricular activities include membership in the First Baptist Church youth group and serving as a junior board member for United Community Bank. Holly has been awarded letters in Math, English and Statistics. She is also a member of the National Honor Society and is a Maryville Scholar.

• Megan Stromer: Daughter of Craig and Janice Stromer. Megan is hoping to attend UNC Chapel Hill to study biology, history, foreign languages or music. Ultimately, she would like to become a veterinarian. In addition to earning two English academic awards at MHS, she also placed 8th on the National French Exam and was nominated for the Morehead-Cain scholarship. Megan is very busy with music and volunteering. She is involved with Mission Smiles and National Honor Society. Her musical interests include piano and band.


In early September, about 16,000 students, or approximately one-third of the 50,000 high scorers, are notified that they have qualified as Semifinalists. To ensure that academically able young people from all parts of the United States are included in this talent pool, Semifinalists are designated on a state representational basis. They are the highest scoring entrants in each state. NMSC provides scholarship application materials to Semifinalists through their high schools. To be considered for a National Merit® Scholarship, Semifinalists must advance to Finalist standing in the competition by meeting high academic standards and all other requirements explained in the materials provided to each Semifinalist.

• Carson Davis is the son of Steve and Jenny Davis. Hopes to attend Clemson University and possibly major in engineering. He is a member of National Honor Society and is a Maryville Scholar. Extracurricular activities include a variety of mission work and volunteer activities - 5 international mission trips, volunteers in the church nursery and with special needs children, works with Habitat for Humanity, and volunteers at a camp for kids with incarcerated parents.

• Clint McKelvey is the son of Kevin and Jennifer McKelvey. Clint would like to study some field of engineering in college, while running track and cross-county. At Maryville High School he serves as a Star Mentor and on the Speakers Bureau. He is a member of the track team and captain of the cross-country team. Honors include Fermat I and II winner at the UT Math contest; State Champion in track for the 3200 meter event; academic letters in Math and English; member of the National Honor Society and a Maryville Scholar.

• Kathryn Waddell is the daughter of Mark and Sharron Waddell. While she hasn’t selected a college yet, she hopes to study Engineering or Education. She received awards at MHS in technology and Spanish and is a Maryville Scholar. In her free time, Kathryn enjoys playing violin, hiking, and rowing. She serves as a Star Mentor at school, is a member of the National Honor Society, as well as the East Tennessee Rowing Organization.

Others who tested while attending Maryville High School, but who have since transferred include Alexis Durand and Laura Rigell.

Semifinalists will be notified by mail in February if they advance to the Finalist standing.

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