Starkville Daily News - - AROUND TOWN -

ists across the U.S., ev­ery fi­nal­ist will com­pete for one of 2,500 Na­tional Merit schol­ar­ships worth $2,500. About 1,000 cor­po­rate-spon­sored schol­ar­ships will also be avail­able. Se­lect col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties will also award some 4,000 col­lege­spon­sored Na­tional Merit awards to stu­dents plan­ning to at­tend the spon­sored in­sti­tu­tion.

Heard gave the SDN her thoughts on how she made it to the semi­fi­nals for the schol­ar­ship.

“I would say that I gen­uinely en­joy learn­ing, so that mo­ti­vates me to take harder classes and to study, be­cause I ac­tu­ally have a gen­uine in­ter­est,” Heard said.

Heard said her par­ents were also sup­port­ive, al­ways de­mand­ing ex­cel­lence but never be­ing too fo­cused on let­ter grades. She also cred­ited her sis­ter Ceci Heard, a SHS alumna and stu­dent at the Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia, for push­ing and en­cour­ag­ing her.

Knox gave some credit to the cur­ricu­lum at SHS.

“I think we had a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties, es­pe­cially when we got to Starkville High School, to be in ad­vanced cour­ses as fresh­man and sopho­mores, so by the time we had got­ten to our ju­nior and se­nior years, we felt like we were ahead of the rest of the peo­ple,” Knox said.

Heard is ap­ply­ing to Mis­sis­sippi State Univer­sity and some out-of state col­leges and is con­sid­er­ing ma­jors in chem­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing or fi­nance. Knox is ap­ply­ing to Van­der­bilt Univer­sity and MSU, con­sid­er­ing a ma­jor in me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing. Thelly will also ap­ply to MSU and other out-of-state schools. He is con­sid­er­ing a ma­jor in the STEM fields. Mackin is un­de­cided on a ma­jor, but is con­sid­er­ing go­ing to East Mis­sis­sippi Com­mu­nity Col­lege to study mu­sic.

”I feel like I'm ex­cited to move on past Starkville High School, and get to go to th­ese uni­ver­si­ties that we've been work­ing to­wards try­ing to get in since we were fresh­man, but there's def­i­nitely a lot of good mem­o­ries that come from Starkville High, like the theatre pro­duc­tions I was in, be­ing in choir and play­ing sports and hav­ing th­ese guys in my classes,” Knox said.

Heard said de­spite the four be­ing com­pet­i­tive with each other, they were good friends, hav­ing been in numer­ous classes to­gether.

“We had a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties through mid­dle school and high school,” Thelly said. "I was re­ally mo­ti­vated by my par­ents and (Heard, Knox and Mackin), be­cause com­pe­ti­tion makes you bet­ter.”

All four stu­dents also cited SHS math teacher Vi­jay Pacharne as a ma­jor in­flu­ence.

(Sub­mit­ted Photo)

From left to right: Sean Mackin, Sarah Heard, Pepito Thelly and Noah Knox. The four SHS se­niors are semi­fi­nal­ists for the Na­tional Merit Schol­ar­ship.

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