Central, Howard Students honored by National Merit, National Achievement Programs | Best Of
The National Merit Scholarship Program and the National Achievement Scholarship Program are programs of academic competition for both recognition and scholarships. High school students enter the program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).
The National Merit Scholarship Program notifies schools in September if their students have qualified as either a Commended Scholar or a Semifinalist. In order for Semifinalists to move forward they must meet high academic requirements and will be notified in February if they have been chosen to be a Finalist. The winner is chosen from the group of Finalists based on abilities, skills and accomplishments – without regard to gender, race, ethnicity or religion. Commended Scholars placed among the top 5 percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the competition by taking the PSAT, but do not advance further in the National Merit program.
The National Achievement Scholarship Program is recognition for African-American high school students. African-American high school students can receive recognition and be honored through both the National Merit Scholarship Program and the National Achievement Scholarship Program.
Bibb County’s National Achievement Scholar Semifinalists, in alphabetical order, are:
Kelton Ellis, Central High School
At Central High School, Kelton is captain of the Quiz Bowl team, vice president of the French Club, and the freshman liaison for Key Club. He also participates in Mock trial as an attorney. He participated in the Governor’s Honors Program this past summer as a social studies major with a minor in mathematics. Kelton has applied early decision to Brown University, and is interested in journalism.
He wrote his National Achievement essay about the importance of being an example for his brother and sister.
“If you’re the oldest sibling you have the responsibility to be the example, so I feel as if I did not have them I would not be inclined to do as well,” Kelton said.
He is most proud of being a semifinalist on the Jeopardy! Teen Tournament, where he won $10,000 and had the opportunity to meet Alex Trebek and be on national television.
Jeremiah Smith, Howard High School
Jeremiah is president of Howard High’s Science Club and the District’s robotics team, RoboBibb. He is also active in Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), Model UN, and the Chess Club.
Outside of school, he is active in his church. Jeremiah enjoys volunteering at the Museum of Arts and Sciences, where he is a camp counselor during the summer program and performs administrative work during the school year. He also volunteers at the Macon Convention and Visitors Bureau, where he does database entry.
Jeremiah wants to attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He has applied early-action to Georgia Tech and is working on his application for Cornell University. He wants to earn a doctorate in computer science. One day he hopes to own his own computer science business.
“I remember watching ‘The Matrix’ when I was about 8 years old and seeing Neo typing on the computer - I thought that was so cool,” he said when reflecting on his interest in computer science.
Bibb County’s National Merit Semifinalists are as follows, in alphabetical order:
Sam Duke, Central High School
Sam is a part of the Central High String Orchestra, Academic Team, and BETA Club. Outside of school, Sam is an Eagle Scout. He also plays the violin for the Macon Youth Symphony Orchestra and is active in his church youth group. Sam also participated in the Duke TIP summer program.
He has applied early action to both the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech, and is currently working on his application for Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is considering a career in biomedical engineering or medicine.
Teva Ilan, Howard High School
At Howard High, Teva is a part of Student Council, BETA Club, the String Orchestra, National Honor Society and the Science Club. He also founded a music group at Howard High. He plans for the group to volunteer at retirement homes and children’s homes. Teva also plays for the Macon Youth Symphony Orchestra. He is an Eagle Scout and president of his synagogue’s religious youth group.
He has applied early action to the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech. He also plans to apply to Princeton University. Teva wants to become a physics professor at a university where he would also like to conduct research.
“I was inspired as a young child by watching science documentaries of Stephen Hawking and Michio Kaku,” he said.
Teva is most proud of receiving fourth place at the International Science Fair this past spring. His research was also published in a scientific journal.
Caroline Martin, Central High School
Caroline is a part of the Mock Trial team where she acts as a lawyer. She is also a part of the National Honor Society and the Drama Club. She is active in the Wesleyan LEAP Camp, where she volunteers her time as a counselor and tutors children.
She participated in the Governor’s Honors Program with a major in communicative arts. She also recently won Regional Best Supporting Actress for Region 2-AAA at One Act Competition.
She hopes to attend a college somewhere in the North and plans to major in physics.
Darby Mowell, Central High School
Darby is president of Central’s chapter for National Honors Society and the Spanish Club. She also participates in a Spanish program meaning “Limitless Leaders.” There, she tutors Spanish-speaking elementary students.
She also participated in the Governor’s Honors Program, where she majored in linguistics. She is also active in the school’s Academic Team. Outside of school, Darby enjoys working on personal research projects.
She wants to attend Emory University in the fall, and she hopes to become a Spanish and French professor.
Bibb County’s National Merit Commended Scholars are as follows, in alphabetical order:
Brendan Carmack, Howard High School
Brendan is the treasurer of the Science Club at Howard High. He is also a member of FBLA and the Chess Club. Outside of school, he is active in his church.
Brendan applied early action to the University of Georgia. He wants to major in biology with a focus on pre-medicine. Then he would like to continue his education to study neuroscience.
When asked to reveal his career goals, Brendan replied, “To be happy. My goal is to be content.”
Chelsea Carr, Howard High School
Chelsea is a part of the Howard High Model UN, BETA Club, and Science Club. She is a member of the Math, Academic and Bowling teams. Chelsea also plays varsity tennis and is on Student Council. She was also selected for Georgia Girls State, a government education program, and participated in the program this past summer.
Outside of school, Chelsea plays tennis and enjoys writing short stories and poetry. She has been writing since she was young and thanks her elementary teachers for encouraging her to never stop writing. She frequently enters writing contests and her poetry has even been published.
Chelsea has applied early action to Georgia Tech, Furman University, Mercer University and Sewanee University. She wants to major in literature and become an author. She also wants to continue her education after undergraduate school by attending law school.
Jake Taylor, Howard High School
Jake is involved with BETA Club and Academic Team at Howard High. He is also the pitcher for the varsity baseball team. Outside of school, Jake manages a part-time job at Kroger.
He has applied early action to the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech and North Carolina State University. In college, he wants to study economics and hopes to work in finance.
“Overall I am proud of myself for maintaining my academics while participating in sports and working outside of school,” he said.