BGHS senior receives prestigious National Merit Scholarship

posted Jun 7, 2017, 4:53 PM by Joe Vajgrt   [ updated Jun 8, 2017, 9:46 AM ]

BGHS senior receives prestigious National Merit Scholarship 

June 7, 2017

Battle Ground High School senior Danielle Keerbs has been awarded a $2,500 National Merit Scholarship to Washington State University. Keerbs is one of approximately 7,500 national finalists offered a scholarship by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), which has a mission to recognize and honor exceptional, academically talented students in the U.S. and encourage the pursuit of and a more profound respect for learning and academic excellence at all education levels.

Keerbs will attend WSU-Pullman next year to pursue a degree in veterinary medicine with a focus on large animals and wildlife. She would also like to be a part-time author and has already written first drafts of several books that she wants to publish. 
“I have definitely changed and grown throughout my time in high school, and I have my teachers, friends, coaches, and family to thank for that,” Keerbs said. “My teachers at BGHS have influenced me greatly." Keerbs credits English teachers Heather Smithline and Anna Hidden with teaching her to expand her mind and discover new, creative ways to express ideas. "They were always willing to discuss or debate any topic, which allowed me to develop a more cohesive view of the world and myself as a person," Keerbs said. Keerbs also has kudos for math teacher Chad Karlsson, who taught her to think outside the box analytically and to never give up on a problem, especially when it seems impossible. And in middle school, Keerbs said her eighth grade English teacher, Lisa Vea, encouraged her to pursue her dreams and never let anything stand in her way.

About 1.6 million juniors from more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which serves as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of about 16,000 semifinalists represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, and includes the highest scoring entrants in each state. 

To become a finalist, the semifinalist and his or her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application in which they provide information about the semi-finalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test. 
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.