Now in its 64th year, the National Merit Scholarship Program recently released the names of approximately 16,000 semifinalists throughout the nation. The semifinalists, all high school seniors, are competing for 7,500 Merit Scholar finalist positions in the spring, with a total of $31 million in scholarship money available.
Jacob Lish is the sole semifinalist this year from STMA. You’re most likely to find Lish with his drum sticks in hand around the school, as he plays percussion as part of wind ensemble, gold jazz band, marching band and pep band. He also participates in school musicals as part of the pit orchestra, which has earned him a spot in the International Thespian Society troupe. Lish said he plans to be involved in theatre beyond the pit this year as well. In addition, he is a member of the high school’s National Honor Society.
“Jacob has been extremely impactful at St. Michael-Albertville High School,” his counselor, Valerie Williams, said. “He has remained in the top percentage of his class, while taking the highest level of courses. He has proven his leadership abilities in the performing arts department by participating in several bands and competing across the state. His passion and dedication to music is inspiring to students and staff alike. We are proud to call Jacob a Knight.”
When asked, Lish said he couldn’t really name a favorite subject or class he’s taken during high school.
“I honestly just like to learn in general,” he said. “Because each hour brings something new, I am always excited throughout my day for whatever comes next. That is, unless I have a test!”
Lish is currently visiting colleges, and he thinks he’ll settle on a private, liberal arts college in the Midwest. He hopes to major in music or biology fields. Even as he prepares for the future, Lish says he couldn’t be happier with his high school experience at STMA.
“I can’t ask for a better high school experience than the one I’ve had so far at STMA,” he said. “Not only do all of my teachers care about my success in the present and future, but they are also easy to talk to and get to know as people. Every class is another opportunity for discussion, and especially this year I can see how what I’m learning about really fits together in ways I would’ve never thought. When I noticed how my AP World History readings drew parallels to the books I was reading in AP English, it just made me ready to go back to class the next day to learn even more.”
In addition to the semifinalists, the National Merit Scholarship Foundation also released a list of commended students, five of whom hail from STMA. These students include: Marley Anderson, Annalise Davis, Jada Gruwell, Gretchen Manderfeld, and Ashley Wiger.