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Decatur teen named National Merit Scholarship semifinalist

John Wesley Peters is a senior at Decatur High School.
Credit: ELIZABETH GENTLE
Decatur teen is a semifinalist for National Merit Scholarship

DECATUR, Ala. — A senior at Decatur High School is one of just 16,000 semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program. 

The annual scholarship program will award nearly $30 million to 7,500 high school seniors across the county. 

John Wesley Peters is at the top of his class at Decatur High School and takes his academics seriously. 

"I have been mostly straight A's through elementary and middle school, and now high school into my senior year," Peters explained. "Hoping to keep it up for the rest of the [school] year but we will find out." 

He is the first student at Decatur High to ever qualify for the National Merit Scholarship. 

In order to qualify, students must score a high score on the preliminary SAT (PSAT). Peters scored a 1380 out of 1400 and he says he is honored to be a part of the semifinalist cohort. His parents are thrilled for him. 

Peter's mother, Katherine Peters says, "We were really excited when he came home and told us... a little annoyed that he found of from the principal and didn't text us, and waited till he got home to tell us. But yea, everyone has been really excited."

In addition to a high score on the PSAT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) the finalists must also be recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT or ACT scores that confirm their performance on the qualifying test. 

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