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Rome High recognizes two National Merit Scholar semifinalists

September 23, 2020–10:11 a.m.


On Tuesday, September 15, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced the names of two Rome High School seniors who were chosen as one of 16,000 Semifinalists in the 66th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Max Timberlake and Jace Clowdus were recognized as National Merit Scholar Semifinalists and will have the opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million that will be offered next spring.

According to their website, over 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants.

The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, will have the chance to submit a detailed scholarship application in order to become a National Merit Finalist.

“Anytime you can be in the one percent, you are definitely among a special group of people,” smiled Dr. Eric Holland, Principal at Rome High School. “I am so proud of Jace and Max for this amazing achievement. Every teacher I have talked with has raved about what a joy both young men are to teach, and I wish them nothing but continued success.”

Dr. Holland continued, “Being able to recognize two outstanding students like this means that what we talk about and what we work towards every year—working together to help our students—is truly effective. Our teachers are amazing, and the work that they put in to help these students achieve is unlike any other. They’re coming in early in the mornings and staying late, which has just provided another layer of support to our students. This also goes to show how our AP program has helped these two students prepare to achieve an honor such as this one.”

“I am honored to have received this recognition, especially as I prepare to begin applying to colleges,” smiled Timberlake who plans to apply to Duke University, USC and Wake Forest with an interest in pursuing pre-med.

Clowdus has big plans, too, which include preparing an application to DigiPen Institute of Technology in Redmond, Washington, with an interest in pursuing game design. “It is really cool to be given this opportunity and to represent Rome High School on a national level. I am honored and excited to have been chosen as one of the semifinalists.”

Louis Byars, Superintendent of Rome City Schools was able to congratulate the two students on earning this amazing achievement.

“This is such a great honor for these young men to be recognized as a National Merit Scholar Semifinalist,” said Byars. “This is a very prestigious award and we are just so proud of them, proud of our teachers and our organization that has helped them progress.”

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2021 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July.

For more information about the competition, please visit NMSC’s website at