Sep 21, 2017

Pickerington Seniors Qualify as National Merit Semifinalists

National Merit Scholar Semifinalists, Amber, Megan, and Henry

Pickerington High School Central students Amber Hamelin and Megan St. Hilaire and Pickerington High School North student Henry Huland have qualified as semifinalists for the National Merit Scholarship Program.

The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships. Nearly 1.6 million high school students enter the program by participating in the Preliminary SAT exam during their junior year. Only 16,000 students become semifinalists.

A semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

To become a finalist, the semifinalist and his or her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received.


Amber Hamelin (PHSC)

Favorite subject: Math

Favorite book: Once a Runner by John L. Parker, Jr.

Likes: Playing card games

“All my teachers very much contributed to making me a better person,” said Amber Hamelin after being selected as a national merit scholar semifinalist. “I couldn’t pick just one.”

Hamelin found out she was a semifinalist last week when the list was released. She praises her parents for not putting a lot of pressure on her and for her academic success.

Hamelin would like to attend college next fall with a biology-related major. She is a member of the Pickerington High School Central cross country team and is still deciding if she wants to run in college.

She is also a member of National Honor Society, vice president of Science Olympiad, and a math tutor.

Hamelin wants to apply to 12 colleges and universities, including The Ohio State, Princeton, Harvard, and Columbia universities. Hamelin added she also enjoys traveling. She has visited London and Paris.


Megan St. Hilaire (PHSC)

Favorite subject: Health sciences

Favorite book: Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Likes: Estate sales and spending time with her family

“My mother has been my motivation,” said Megan St. Hilaire as she reflected on her selection as a semifinalist. “She’s a really hard worker.”

Her mother having sickle cell has always been a reason to try harder St. Hilaire said. It has contributed to her academic success because her hardships seem like nothing compared to the painful disease her mother has.

After graduation, St. Hilaire would like to major in computer science then continue onto graduate school to become a nurse practitioner. She is interested in several universities, including, Columbia, Yale, and New York universities, and New York University Shanghai.

Recently, St. Hilaire had an internship at Nationwide Children’s Hospital where she worked on Congo red dot testing, which can predict and diagnose preeclampsia.

She is a member of the orchestra at Pickerington Central, and was concertmaster last year. She is a member of Science Olympiad, National Honor Society, and an English and math tutor.


Henry Huland (PHSN)

Favorite subjects: Math and science

Favorite book: Freakonomics by Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt

Likes: Hanging out and playing recreation sports with friends

“I was a little surprised, and mostly honored and thankful,” Henry Huland said when he found out he was named a National Merit Scholar semifinalist. His plan is to attend college next year and major in engineering.

Huland thanks his physics teacher at Pickerington North, Doug Forrest, for his help and support with many things in high school, including his academics. Huland also credits his dad and math teacher at North, Matt Huland. “He’s been a huge part of my success in school,” Huland added.

Huland is on the golf team at North and is the president of Team Physics, a group of high school students that create science demonstrations for elementary and middle school students throughout the district.

Huland has taken several dual credit college courses and AP courses throughout high school.


Congratulations to the three semifinalists and thank you for making Pickerington proud!