Established in 1955, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation identifies and honors the top high school students throughout the country through its National Merit Scholarship Program.
Approximately 7,500 high school seniors are recognized as scholars each year by the organization. They receive a $2,500 annual scholarship from the NMSC and are eligible for scholarships from universities and companies nationwide.
In early February, Pocahontas County High School senior Max O’Ganian learned he has been named a finalist in the program.
O’Ganian said he learned last year that he was named a semi-finalist due to his score on the PSAT.
“When you take the PSAT – the practice SAT test – everyone in the country gets automatically entered for it,” he said. “If you score in the top one percent in your state on the PSAT, you become a semi-finalist, which is what happened to me.”
Once O’Ganian was named a semi-finalist, he went on to fill out a rigorous application to be named a finalist. Now he is waiting to see if he has been named one of the 7,500 scholars in the final step.
“There’s still one more step to go,” he said. “So there are sixteen thousand finalist and then that gets cut down to seventy-five hundred. Then you become a scholar, and that’s where the scholarship money is, if you make that one more cut.”
O’Ganian has done all he can do; now he just has to wait for NMSC to announce the scholars sometime this spring.
In the meantime, he is focused on his senior year at PCHS, balancing classes, athletics and clubs. He was on the boys soccer team this fall and the Robotics team this winter. This spring, he will return to athletics as a member of the track team.
O’Ganian is a member of the STEM Club and National Honor Society and plans to pursue an engineering degree in college.
“I’m going into mechanical engineering somewhere,” he said. “I haven’t decided where, yet. I’m hoping to graduate with my Bachelor’s and go out and work awhile, but eventually, I want to go back and get my Master’s so I can work in design with mechanical engineering.”
O’Ganian is the son of Paul Marganian and Karen O’Neil, of Dunmore.