Four Springdale Public School students have qualified as National Merit Scholarship Finalists.

Four Springdale Public School students have qualified as National Merit Scholarship Finalists.

Seniors Lucas A. Kellar, Don Tyson School of Innovation, and Brady C. Billingsley, Preston R. McAllister and Noah J. Seiter, all of Har-Ber High School, qualified for the honor.

The National Merit Scholarship Program is conducted by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation to recognize and honor the nation’s academically talented students through scholarship programs, according to the corporation’s website.

The scholarship program is designed to promote a wider and deeper respect for learning, to shine a spotlight on brilliant students and to encourage the pursuit of academic excellence at all levels of education, according to the website.

The Springdale students are four out of 95 finalists to earn the recognition this school year in Arkansas, said Michael Fotenopulos, Springdale Public Schools academic coach.

“These are the top 1% of students in the state of Arkansas from last year as they took the PSAT,” Fotenopulos said.

The National Merit Scholarship process began when the students took the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test in their junior year, he said.

“It’s a long present waiting to be opened,” Fotenopulos said.

Of the 1.5 million entrants, some 50,000 with the highest PSAT scores qualify for recognition in the National Merit Scholarship Program, according to the corporation’s website. Only about 15,000 Semifinalists are notified they have advanced to Finalist standing.

About 7,500 Finalists will be notified beginning in March that they have been selected to receive a Merit Scholarship award, according to the corporation’s website.

All winners of Merit Scholarship awards are chosen from the Finalist group based on their abilities, skills, and accomplishments. The Finalist’s academic record, information about the school's curriculum and grading system, the PSAT Selection Index score, the high school official's written recommendation, information about the student's activities and leadership and the Finalist's own essay are all considered to determine if a student is a scholarship winner.

Students who receive Merit Scholarship awards will earn the distinction of being designated as National Merit Scholars, Fotenopulos said.

Kevin Ownbey, School Board member, said all of Springdale should be proud of what the students have achieved.

“It’s a rare accomplishment,” Ownbey said.

Lucas A. Kellar

Don Tyson School of Innovation

Kellar will attend a to-be-determined college following graduation to study software engineering.

Noah J. Seiter

Har-Ber High School

Seiter plans to attend the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville to study data science.

Preston R. McAllister

Har-Ber High School

McAllister will attend Vanderbilt University in Knoxville, Tenn., to major in biology and premed.

Brady C. Billingsley

Har-Ber High School

Billingsley plans to attend a to-be-determined college to major in music and English.