Smoky Mountain High School senior Anna Morgan has been awarded a certificate of merit by the National Merit Scholarship Program. She has advanced to “finalist” standing where she will be in the running for one of the 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be awarded later in the spring.
Morgan was named one of 16,000 semifinalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program in September which helped qualify her for the finalist round.
More than 1.5 million juniors in 21,000 high schools entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test which served as an initial screen of program entrants.
To become a finalist, semifinalists and an official from their high schools had to submit a detailed scholarship application that included the applicant’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, leadership abilities, employment and honors and awards received.
In addition to excelling academically, Morgan is the captain of the SMHS soccer team, a member of the cross country and indoor track teams, and she participates in Science Olympiad, the Appalachian Oral History Project and Math Club.
She is also the co-president of the Jackson County Youth Leadership Council and works as a referee at the Jackson County Recreation Center.
In addition to her classes at SMHS, she is enrolled in the online North Carolina School of Science and Math program where she takes advanced math and science classes.
Morgan credits the community atmosphere at Smoky Mountain High School and team sports for supporting her in her academic and athletic endeavors.
“People actually care about me here,” she said. “I think that participating in sports has really helped me grow, not only as an athlete, but as a person. I’ve also had some great teachers. I have really enjoyed working with Mrs. Barb Sink in the three semesters of math classes I’ve had with her, and I’ve loved my art classes with Dr. Autumn Hall.”
“Anna is such a star,” Smoky Mountain Principal Evelyn Graning said. “In addition to being an exceptional student and athlete, she is genuinely kind and caring about others and has such empathy for the world around her. We are very fortunate to have her as a student here at Smoky Mountain High School, and we are really proud of her for this achievement.”
Morgan has not selected a college yet, although she has some top choices in mind. She is considering a major in math with a minor in environmental science.
Morgan is the daughter of Kirsten and Ralph Morgan. They live in Webster.