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Allison Hebdon, National Merit Semi-Finalist from MLCHS

Allison Hebdon plays synthesizer in the MLCHS Marching Band and oboe in the Concert Band.  Her musical talent has earned her a spot in the Louisville Youth Orchestra and the All-State Concert Band.  Allison also has another feather to put in her cap. Recently, she found out that she is a National Merit Scholar Semi-Finalist, one of 16,000 across America who have earned this recognition.  According to their website, the mission of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) is to recognize and honor the academically talented students of the United States. NMSC accomplishes its mission by conducting nationwide academic scholarship programs. The enduring goals of NMSC's scholarship programs are:

  • To promote a wider and deeper respect for learning in general and for exceptionally talented individuals in particular
  • To shine a spotlight on brilliant students and encourage the pursuit of academic excellence at all levels of education
  • To stimulate increased support from individuals and organizations that wish to sponsor scholarships for outstanding scholastic talent

Allison certainly meets the mission for the program.  She said, “to become a semi-finalist I had to take the PSAT as a junior.  I got a pretty good score. It was above the cut off score for Kentucky.”

The next step for Allison is to write a student essay and complete an application which includes her academic record, the school’s recommendation for her, her extracurricular activities and her scores on the PSAT/NMSQT.  Because everyone who made the top 16,000 has an excellent academic record, the essay will play an important part in the determination of the winners of $2500 Scholarships, college and corporate sponsored scholarships and other awards.  

Allison is currently enrolled in five college classes this year including three AP classes and a dual credit online Calculus 2 class.  Her fifth class is an engineering class which is offered by UK and taught by MLCHS teacher Mr. Sean Ware. “Mr. Ware is a great mentor.  He really believed in me through my intro to engineering course and it helped me realize that I’m good at this and it’s what I want to do.  I want to major in engineering. Possibly electrical engineering. I’m looking at Vanderbilt. They let you choose three types of engineering to explore in your first year.” She has been to Vanderbilt twice to visit and talked to the Dean of Engineering.

Allison said that her uncle is one of her inspirations to apply to be a National Merit Finalist.  “He was a finalist and has influenced me to try. He is a band director -- he could have done anything -- but he chose his passion.  He loves his job and his students.” 

In the spirit of sisterly competition, Allison mentioned that her sister received a big scholarship and had a free ride to Northwestern in Chicago.  She wants to do the same.

National Merit Finalists will be announced in January of 2020.  We wish Ms. Hebdon the best of luck!