The Gunston School announced the other day that seniors Abbey and Maggie Miller of Easton have been selected as semifinalists in the 67th annual National Merit Scholarship Program, making them part of the top 16,000 high school students selected out of 1.5 million qualified applicants.
This is a a major accomplishment for the twins since National Merit semifinalists represent less than one percent of high school seniors in the United States.
The Millers will be competing for about 7,500 scholarships worth almost $30M. Roughly 15,000 semifinalists will advance to the finalist level in February, with scholarships awarded later in the spring. The application process is rigorous, requiring an outstanding academic record as well as a detailed record of school and community engagement in various activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, endorsements and recommendations by a high school official, an essay, and near perfect SAT or ACT scores.
“Growing up, I was always encouraged to do my best in school,” said Maggie. “I worked hard to achieve my goals and learned that preparation was the key to success. I’ve always enjoyed math and science; I attended coding summer camps when I was younger and this past summer I was a leader for a week-long STEM camp for students at the local elementary school. Leading up to the PSAT exam date, I used some of my extra time on weekends to do practice problems, using resources like Khan Academy. Next fall, I plan on studying at an engineering school in the Northeast.”
Abbey adds, “I have always worked hard in my classes and done well in school. When I was younger, my parents encouraged me to excel academically. They supported me as I developed my interests and set different goals for myself. I would not have been able to achieve this if it weren’t for them. In school, I gravitate towards anything related to STEM, so I plan on majoring in engineering at college.”
English teacher Morey Weimer, who is also the advisor of the new chess club the Millers co-founded, recalled their individual impact in his class, “Maggie’s writing on Margaret Atwood inspired me to not only read a handful of Atwood novels over the summer, but to dive deeply into the realm of cli-fi (re: climate fiction) and to reconsider how stories can function as a sort of looking glass into a world where current issues are taken to an extreme. Abbey’s writing on Ray Bradbury offered insight into the relationship between science, technology, and storytelling. In fact, one of Abbey’s essays inspired an entire unit in my “From Stories to Science” [in the Anthropocene course] about engineering and the power of stories to influence the sort of world that we design and build. Maggie and Abbey both aren’t afraid to ask for help. They take constructive criticism well and consistently make an effort to improve their writing.”
“Abbey and Maggie are not just superior students, but also superior citizens,” shared Gunston’s Head of School John Lewis, “They have excelled throughout their career in the classroom, on the athletic field, and in their service to others. As a school, we are deeply proud of their accomplishments.”
Since Abbey and Maggie live only a few blocks for the Spy studio, we thought we’d have a quick chat with them as they begin the process of applying to college this fall.
This video is approximately four minutes in length. For more information about Gunston School please go here.