National Merit Scholar: Green Forest senior earns prestigious honor

Friday, April 12, 2019
Green Forest senior Trinity McMahan has been selected as a National Merit Finalist.
Photo by David Bell/Carroll County News

By Kelby Newcomb

Green Forest senior Trinity McMahan has been selected as a National Merit Finalist.

McMahan said she qualified to enter the National Merit Scholar competition after receiving a high score on the PSAT her junior year of high school.

“I found out at the beginning of this year that I qualified to enter the National Merit competition,” she said, “so I wrote an essay and submitted sort of a resume kind of thing. They wanted to make sure that your test scores aren’t a fluke.”

McMahan said she then had to take the regular SAT to make sure that her score on it was high enough to back up her PSAT score.

“I submitted that whole application in October,” she said, “and I believe I was notified that I was a semifinalist in February. And then I was notified that I was a finalist in the middle of March. The process was very complicated and very secretive. They wanted you to keep it confidential for a couple of weeks.”

McMahan said receiving the honor was exciting.

“It was really exciting because I’d never heard of anybody receiving it before,” she said.

In addition to being named a National Merit Scholar, McMahan said she also received a $2,500 scholarship from the corporation.

She said she plans to attend John Brown University (JBU) in Siloam Springs.

“With the National Merit thing, I thought I was going to be receiving a full ride to Baylor University,” McMahan said. “I did get a full-tuition scholarship, but different things worked out to where I wasn’t going to be able to take care of room and board.”

She continued, “So I decided on John Brown University. I could change my mind in the next few weeks, but I seriously doubt it.”

She said JBU offers a scholarship for National Merit Finalists that is a little more than what she would have received at Baylor.

“I’ve always wanted to go to JBU, so that worked out,” McMahan said.

She said she is applying to JBU’s honors program.

“I’ve talked to their honors director, but I haven’t finished the application yet,” McMahan said. “She’s pretty sure that I’ll be a good fit for the program, and I actually got to sit in on one of her classes.”

She said being a National Merit Finalist could open up future opportunities for her as well.

“I know they do things with the National Merit Scholars,” she said. “Sometimes they interview them and have conferences and stuff, but I haven’t been notified of that yet.”

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