Talbot receives Merit honor

Published 9:49 am Monday, September 19, 2016

One in 16,000.

Warren Central High School senior Trevor Talbot was named a semifinalist in the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program for his impressive PSAT score of 224 out of a total 228.

According to the National Merit Scholarship Cooperation, 1.6 million students took the PSATs and the top students in each state made up the 16,000 semifinalists.

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“Once you’re a semifinalist you can apply for all these different scholarships they have,” Talbot said.

Each state has a different score requirement to reach the honor, and last year in Mississippi, students had to make a 209.

As a sophomore, Talbot took the PSATs and scored a 188, and he knew if he wanted to be a semifinalist he’d have to work a lot harder.

“I needed to jump up quite a bit of points, and I didn’t think I was going to do it,” Talbot said.

Last year when it counted, Talbot made the 224 out of 228. When he did a little research he found his score would have qualified him as a semifinalist even in the most stringent state of Massachusetts.

Talbot said the principal and several guidance counselors pulled him out of class to tell him he had received the designation. Since he had already been examining the scoring scale, he was pretty sure he’d be a semifinalist.

“It didn’t surprise me too much, but I still felt very honored. I knew it was a great achievement, and I’m very thankful for the counselors’ role in giving me this opportunity,” Talbot said.

He plans to continue in the scholarship program and apply to be a finalist by writing an essay, taking the SATs in November and submitting a resume.

“It’s kind of like what colleges are looking for. They want good test scores, GPA, extracurriculars, service and things like that,” Talbot said.

He’ll be notified if he attains the standing in February.

The National Merit Scholarship Cooperation said in a press release 90 percent of semifinalists are expected to reach the finalist standing and about half of the finalists will become Merit Scholars and receive a National Merit Scholarship.

Talbot plans to attend Brigham Young University and is considering either nuclear or aerospace engineering.

Even as a high school senior, he already works at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineer Research and Development Center at the Geotechnical and Structure Laboratory in the soil lab division.

“It’s a really great opportunity. I’m what they call a pathway student. They hire usually college but also high school students,” Talbot said. “Since my school schedule wasn’t too full, I only had a few classes, I could work here. It’s great.”

He is also a member of the Project Viking 8781 robotics team.

Talbot is the son of Cary and Angela Talbot.