COVINGTON - A Newton County high school student recently was named a semifinalist in the 2010 National Merit Scholarship Program.
Eric Ritenour, a senior at Alcovy High School, was the only finalist in Newton County and one of 16,000 in the nation - less than 1 percent of the nation's high school graduating seniors - to qualify as a semifinalist for the scholarship.
"Alcovy High School is extremely proud of Eric Ritenour being named as a National Merit Semifinalist for this school year," said LaQuanda Brown, principal of Alcovy High School, in a press release. "Eric is an outstanding student that is extremely focused on his goals and aspirations and deserves to be recognized."
After taking the Preliminary SAT in October 2008 and earning one of the top scores, which he preferred not to reveal, he qualified to advance in the competition for one of 8,200 merit scholarships worth $2,500.
He encourages other students to take the PSAT, not only for the chance at a scholarship but for the opportunity to practice for the SAT, which could determine college acceptance.
"It's almost exactly the same test as the SAT," said Ritenour, who plans to attend Oxford College to study political science or the Georgia Institute of Technology to study economics. "You'll know exactly what to prepare for."
The three Newton County high schools will offer the PSAT on Oct. 28.
"The staff at AHS works tirelessly to teach the students to take steps that will help them to get into the college of their choice with funding assistance, and Eric has taken the advice of his teachers and the guidance from his parents seriously in tackling the PSAT and earning a score that is to be reckoned with by many," Brown said. "The AHS staff is cheering for Eric in hopes that he will gain the rewards of earning such an esteemed score and will move on to the next step in earning the title of National Merit Scholar."
The National Merit Scholarship Competition will announce the names of the finalists in February.