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Three Students Named National Merit Semifinalists

Three local students have been recognized as National Merit Semifinalists. They are all seniors at Madisonville North Hopkins High School, and one of them is also enrolled at Gatton Academy at Western Kentucky University.

Michael Bailey, Chase Brummer, and Thomas Clark are among more than 16,000 Semifinalists in the 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program. These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for 7,250 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million. More than 1.3 million juniors entered the program by taking the 2022 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

School officials praised their work ethic and high standards.

Bailey has participated in the Early College program at Madisonville Community College for both his junior and senior years. He’s enrolled in four college level classes now, and plans to take five during the spring semester.

“I’ve always played football,” he said. “It’s taken up most of my time.” He plays on the offensive line and defensive line. He is interested in continuing to play football in college.

He plans to apply to some of the top engineering schools. He has already applied at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Centre College, and Johns Hopkins University, and plans to apply to Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“I went to MIT first for a football camp,” Bailey said. “The football program offered me support through admissions.”

Brummer said he was excited to be named a Semifinalist. “I remember thinking of what that meant for applying for college and going to graduate school. It should be great for my future opportunities.”

He has taken several college-level classes during high school. “That was something that was important to me, to always take accelerated classes. I push myself to always take the highest thing that was offered to me.”

His extracurricular activities include community service clubs such as Key Club, Spanish Club, and Beta Club. However, most of his time is spent participating in band.

“I am committed to marching band,” Brummer said. “Then, of course, all the other bands, too, jazz band, concert band, pep band.” He auditioned on piano for Governor’s School for the Arts and was selected to participate in the three-week program at University of Kentucky.

After graduation, he plans to attend Centre College and is interested in studying behavioral neuroscience and music.

Clark is in his second year at the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science. He said that attending Gatton has been “an amazing experience. I think it would stand to benefit a lot from a bigger applicant pool.”

He hopes to have a career in either paleontology or game design, possibly both.

Gatton’s news release said much of students’ preparation for the qualifying PSAT exam stems from their early years in high school. MNHHS Principal Adam Harris also wanted to give some recognition to the middle and elementary schools these three attended: Grapevine, Jesse Stuart, and Pride Elementary schools; West Hopkins School; Browning Springs Middle School; and James Madison Middle School.