Morgantown High School can now boast two more National Merit Scholars, with the inductions of Carter Herron and Amy Lu into its 2023 class.
The two MHS seniors are among 12 students from across the Mountain State named to the elite academic honorary.
The red-brick school on Wilson Avenue led the state in inductees last year with four scholars.
Along with Monongalia County Schools, Kanawha’s district had three scholars go in this year, adding to a pair from Mineral County.
Jefferson, Ohio, Morgan, Wood and Pocahontas counties each had one scholar apiece.
Inductees are selected on their general academic record, including the difficulty of courses they scheduled during their high school years.
Their SAT scores also factor in, along with recommendations from their teachers and principals.
West Virginia’s scholars were among an original field of 15,000 finalists from across the U.S., which was then winnowed down to the 2,500 awardees who will receive a $2,500 scholarship.
State Schools Superintendent David Roach said all 12 now have “an honor they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.”
The National Merit Scholarship program was born of its times.
It was established during the Cold War in 1955, over concerns that the U.S. was lagging intellectually in the world.
The main organizational goal then was to encourage young students by way of committed teachers and unique course offerings, to develop their full academic and professional potential in a global dynamic forever changed by World War II.
After passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the program expanded with its National Achievement Scholarship Program for Black students who are top performers in the classroom.
Scholarships from the National Merit organization — which is nonprofit — are underwritten with its own funds and 400 supporting businesses nationwide.
Meanwhile, more than 350,000 have earned the Merit Scholar title over the past 68 years.
National Merit Scholarship finalists over the years include software titan and social activist Bill Gates, blues guitarist Elvin Bishop and filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan.