Ellis Lyons' Picture

Ellis Named National Merit Finalist

North Putnam High School senior Ellis Lyons, son of Brenda and Greg Lyons, Coatesville, has been named a Finalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program, placing him in one of the highest tiers of U.S. high school students.  

Principal Jason Chew on his accomplishment stated, “Ellis is a gifted student who has excelled alongside some great instructors.  We are excited to celebrate this academic achievement, but more importantly excited to see where his talents take him after high school.”  One of his math teachers, Mrs. Michellle Spencer said about Ellis, “In math, Ellis is amongst the very elite students who not only love the subject but understand it deeply. He can think beyond what is taught and apply things in new and creative ways. He has a unique mind that a teacher rarely gets a chance to influence. Truly, sometimes he teaches you more than you teach him."  Following high school Ellis plans to attend college in the fall to pursue a degree/career in computer engineering.

In addition to leading his classmates academically, Ellis has also been involved with a variety of extracurricular activities while attending North Putnam High School.  He is a member of the National Honor Society, the math academic team, as well as the NPHS Key Club.  Ellis has also participated as a varsity athlete in cross country and basketball during his high school career.  In thinking about Ellis, Brandon Wagler, assistant principal said, “He is one of the hardest workers that I have encountered in my educational career.” He continued, “Ellis always wants to do his very best, constantly has a super attitude, and makes North Putnam a better place.  Ellis always has a smile on his face, is very respectful, and he brings valuable insight and leadership to all his classes.”

Ellis is in an elite group of approximately 15,000 seniors from across the country competing for 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth about $30 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. 

About 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2020 Preliminary National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest scoring entrants in each state. The number of semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

To become a Finalist, the semifinalist and his high school had to 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. 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 scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test. 

All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference. 

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2022. Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 230 corporations and business organizations for finalists who meet their specified criteria. In addition, about 190 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,000 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for finalists who will attend the sponsor institution. 

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2022 will be announced beginning in April and concluding in July.