Merit Honor

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 26, 2008

SP senior qualifies for rare Merit honor

By Rita Howell

For the first time in more than 10 years, a South Panola High School student has qualified as a National Merit Semifinalist in an academic scholarship competition founded in 1955.

SPHS senior Chelsea Ratcliff’s name was on the list released September 10 by the non-profit National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

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Selection is based on scores from the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Qualifying Test which students typically take in their junior year of high school. There are about 16,000 National Merit Semifinalists each year.

Those selected must fulfill additional requirements to advance to the Finalist level to be considered for a scholarship. Those requirements include taking the SAT, writing an essay and completing an application.

Announcement of National Merit Scholarship winners is made in the spring semester.

Ratcliff, daughter of Holly and Forrest Poe of Batesville and Tommy Ratcliff of Abbeville, represented South Panola at the Mississippi Governor’s School during the past summer.

A band student from grades 6-11, Ratcliff belongs to the Drama Club and is a member of the National Honor Society. She was recognized as a Duke University TIP scholar, and was named to Who’s Who Among American High School Students.

She won the 2007 History Award, the Accelerated English II Award, the Accelerated English III Award, and the Superior Soloist Award for the 2006-07 Symphonic Band.

She received the 2008 Woodmen of the World U.S. History Award and made a perfect score on the U.S. History Mississippi Subject Area Test.

She is active at Calvary Baptist Church where she sings in the youth choir, volunteers with the nursing home ministry, belongs to the Ablaze youth group and helps in the church nursery and with Vacation Bible School.