Kailey Wong (‘21) wins National Merit Scholarship


Kailey Wong

Kailey Wong(’21) smiles at the camera in her bedroom.

Yash Bachu, Staff Writer

The quiet yet panicked testing room of sophomores and juniors bubbling in the SAT answer sheet feels to be a chance at further success or even redemption for many American students. However, few students are able to compete for official recognition and merit, even less receive an award. This April, Kailey Wong (‘21) from Amador Valley High was announced as a National Merit Scholarship winner. Upon winning the scholarship, recipients such as Kailey Wong (‘21) may benefit from $2500 of financial aid towards their freshman year of college.

“I’m honored to be a National Merit Scholar and I see it as a reward for all of the time and energy I’ve dedicated to both academics and extracurriculars throughout high school. Academics has always been one of the most important aspects of my life, so winning the National Merit Scholarship just reinforces my drive to do well,“ said Kailey Wong (‘21).

Although the selection process for a national merit scholarship, additional efforts are required to receive one. The CollegeBoard even asked potential recipients such as Kailey Wong to write a semi finalist essay.

In my essay, I wrote about learning to overcome my fear of performing and stepping out of my comfort zone. Believing in yourself and learning from your mistakes are fundamental steps in your growth as a person. I think it was important that my essay demonstrated my development over time,” said Kailey Wong (‘21).

To anyone trying to receive a National Merit scholarship, be warned that the process is tough and requires a lot of hard work.

“Since doing well on the PSAT and qualifying as a semifinalist is the first step to becoming a National Merit Scholar, I would advise students aiming to win a National Merit Scholarship to study hard for the SAT and PSAT. Personally, completing lots of practice tests helped me to be successful,” said Kailey Wong (‘21).

However as beneficial and amazing it may feel to win a scholarship, it should not be one’s only priority academically.

“I don’t think students should put all of their focus solely on the PSAT and National Merit because it’s only a very small part of who you are. There are other important aspects of your life, including academics and extracurriculars, that contribute to making you a well-rounded student,” said Kailey Wong (‘21).

Kailey has been grateful to those who have aided her effort in becoming one of 2500 merited individuals.

I definitely would not have been able to win a National Merit Scholarship without the support and guidance of everyone who has served as a teacher or mentor to me. I’m also super grateful to have amazing parents who always give me their unconditional support and have allowed me to pursue my passions” said Kailey Wong (‘21).

Being a National Merit Scholar is a source of pride for me, but ultimately it’s a very small part of who I am. I hope it will help open up opportunities such as internships and scholarships to me in the future, but hard work and dedication are still the keys to success in anything,” said Kailey Wong (‘21).