Marist High School principal Larry Tucker recently announced that senior Jason Phelan was elevated to the status of National Merit Finalist by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation in Evanston, Ill.
Finalists represent the highest scorers in each state based on results of the Preliminary SAT (PSAT). Only 15,000 high school seniors in the nation receive the distinction of finalist from an initial pool of 1.5 million test takers. That number is less than one one-hundredth of all students who take the PSAT. Finalists are able to compete for nearly 7,400 scholarships.
Phelan, a SS. Cyril & Methodius graduate, has had an impressive academic career. As a junior, he earned a top composite score of 36 on the ACT. He is the third Marist student to score a 36 in the past eleven years. On average, less than one-tenth of one percent of students who take the ACT earns the top score. Among test takers in the high school graduating class of 2014, only 1,407 of nearly 1.85 million students earned a composite score of 36.
Phelan says he is still weighing his options about where to attend college, but plans to major in physics and math and pursue a career in research. While at Marist, Phelan was a two-year member of the boys basketball team, and served a third year as the team’s statistician. He is a member of the school’s successful math team, which is the top Catholic school team in Illinois finishing fourth in state last May. He is also the vice-president of the National Honor Society. He has carried a challenging course load, tackling many Advanced Placement and honors classes.