Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


White a merit scholar semifinalist


Haines High School senior Eli White has been named a semifinalist in the 59th National Merit Scholarship program, the first local student to achieve the honor in about six years.

Entrants are chosen based on their PSAT scores, school activities and applications that they and their school fill out. White scored 218 of a possible 240 combined in math, critical reading and writing. There are 16,000 semifinalists nationwide.

School counselor Lindsey Moore said, “It’s a pretty exciting honor that may open up big opportunities.” Some colleges have scholarships for National Merit Scholar finalists, she said, and the ranking could help White gain admission to certain colleges.

About 90 percent of semifinalists become finalists and half of those go on to win the National Merit Scholarships.

“I have to fill out a number of applications, which include writing an essay,” White said. These have to be submitted by Oct. 9.

The essay, White said, is a creative one describing an experience or belief that defined him. He hasn’t decided what to write yet, but said the judges are trying “to get a sense of what kind of writer you are and what kind of person you are.”

After high school, White said he wants to go to college and perhaps major in computer science. He hasn’t yet decided where he is going to apply, but said, “I’m working on it.”

Finalists will be announced in February.