Gray Stone Day School announces National Merit Scholarship finalists

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 13, 2014

Officials of the National Merit Scholarship Corp. announced the names of more than 15,000 finalists in the 59th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. There were approximately 16,000 semi-finalists announced in September 2013. The selection of 8,000 Merit Scholarship winners from this group of more than 15,000 finalists is now in progress.
Three students from Gray Stone Day School are among them. They are Kenan Darden, Caroline McLeod and Maria Weber.
Kenan Darden is the son of Stewart Darden and Sabrina Yelton of Harrisburg. He has played Gray Stone soccer for three years on a conference winning team, attended Summer Ventures in Science and Mathematics at North Carolina Central University, is an AP Scholar and is a member of the chess club and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Darden hopes to study physics or mathematics.
Caroline McLeod is the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Michael McLeod of Albemarle. She is on the cross country team and the spring track team and has been All-County, All-Conference, All-Regional and Conference Runner of the Year in both. She has also been County Champion, Conference Champion, Regional Champion and State Champion in track. She is president of the National Honor Society and is senior class treasurer. She attended Summer Ventures at Appalachian State University and N.C. Governor’s School at Meredith College and is an AP scholar with distinction. McLeod volunteers for the John P. Murray Community Care Clinic. She plans to become a doctor.
Maria Weber is the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Joel Weber of Salisbury. She has been on the swim team and is a horsewoman, performing at charity events and participating in charity rides. She was the Reserve Grand Champion at the North Carolina 4-H Horse Show. She is introducing children of Rowan County to the 4-H program through different activities. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, and is an AP scholar in four subjects. She has received many course distinction awards while at Gray Stone. Weber plans to study science after high school.
About 1.5 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2012 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than 1 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 their high school must 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.
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.