10 area students among latest Merit Scholarship recipients


FAYETTE COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – Six additional members of the class of 2020 from Fayette County schools have been awarded college-sponsored National Merit Scholarships. In addition to Fayette County, four students from other area schools also were named.

The sponsors chose these students who plan to attend their institutions from a nationwide talent pool of more than 15,000 outstanding finalists. The awards provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study.

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From Henry Clay High School:

  • Eesh Kulshrestha, probable career field of medicine, University of Kentucky

Lafayette High School:

  • Anya Hartman, neuroscience, Centre College

Paul Laurence Dunbar High School:

  • John Adkins, medicine, Emory College
  • Amal Gondal, psychiatry, Centre College
  • Jason Wang, biology, University of Kentucky
  • Evan Yang, healthcare, Emory College

Other area students include:

— Abigail Dietrich, epidemiology, Davidson College, Sayre Scool in Lexington;

— Elijah M. Goggin, materials engineering, University of Kentucky, Boyle County High School, Danville;

— Yisu Yang, neuroscience, Vanderbilt University, Lexington Catholic;

— Ralph T. Hood, engineering, University of Kentucky, Lexington Christian Academy.

The 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program began in October 2018 when more than 1.5 million juniors in more than 21,000 high schools took the PSAT, which served as a qualifying test. In fall 2019, the highest-scoring participants in each state, representing less than 1 percent of the country’s high school seniors, became semifinalists. (FCPS had 45 semifinalists.

Of these 16,000 seniors, about 90 percent advanced as finalists.

First came the April 22, 2020 announcement of corporate-sponsored winners, then $2,500 award recipients on May 13, and the first group of college-backed recipients on June 3.

In total, about 7,600 students have earned the “merit scholar” title in 2020 and received over $30 million in college scholarships. These students may use their awards at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university.