Senior Spencer Rhoades has gone non-stop the past two weeks testing for his eight AP classes. English, Biology, Government/Macroeconomics, Calculus, Psychology, Spanish IV and Art. Out of all eight, his favorite is AP Bio. He likes the material (he plans on going into Biophysics or Biochemistry after high school), and says that Mr. Thompson gets “ridiculously excited” to teach. “He’s young and makes it fun, and he knows what he’s doing.”

His days are packed with attending classes, doing homework for the AP classes, studying for their tests, service for NHS and NAHS, and tutoring elementary school kids in math. While this seems like a lot, it has paid off. Rhoades is the Salutatorian of the class of 2015 and he has achieved the title of National Merit Scholar.

The National Merit organization gets all PSAT scores from when students take it their junior year. Students who meet the base score are notified and become semi-finalists. There are 16,000 semi-finalists in the nation. From there the semi-finalists complete an application similar to a college application. Then applicants take the test to beat their PSAT score. The applications are considered and the finalists are chosen. Though 90-percent go on to be finalists, the organization only offers 7,600 scholarships.

Once Rhoades was notified of him being a semi-finalist, he prepped for taking his SAT by taking the summer course offered at Timber Creek. When he took it and qualified to be a finalist, the National Merit Organization notified colleges that might be interested in offering him a scholarship. In the end he became a National Merit Scholar when the organization gave him $2500, which he will be using at Brigham Young University.

He does recommend the program for others to try: “Just do it. It doesn’t hurt, and it doesn’t take long, and there are pretty good chances of getting scholarships.”