TCHS senior earns merit scholarship finalist status

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By Janet Robb

TELL CITY - An extra announcement during Tell City High School's morning report came as a surprise to Jenelle Clausen. It was then she learned that she was a National Merit Scholarship finalist.

"It was pretty exciting though," she said, adding she was a little embarrassed that it was announced to the entire school. The Tell City High School senior is the 18th student in the school's history to receive this honor.

TCHS Principal Dale Stewart said it's a real honor for the school, staff and Tell City-Troy School Corp., to have one of their own named a finalist. "She's an outstanding young lady," Stewart added.

Her parents, Darryl and Shelly Clausen, were very excited to learn their daughter was one step closer. "She's worked really hard to get where she's at," said her mother. "We're very proud of her."

Jenelle Clausen was named a semi-finalist last year after earning high scores on her 2007 Preliminary SAT and National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which serves as an initial screen for the program. "I was hoping to score high enough to receive this award on the PSAT," she said.

To be considered for a merit scholarship, Clausen had to fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. To become a finalist, students must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the high-school principal and earn SAT scores that confirm the student's earlier performance on the qualifying test.

The semifinalist and a high-school official must submit a scholarship application, which includes a student's self-descriptive essay and information about the semifinalist's participation and leadership in school and community activities.

It won't be until March that she will find out if she's one of the 8,200 scholarship winners. After graduation, Clausen said she plans to major in chemistry.