Two Hayes High School students were recently selected for national awards.
Junior Emefa Sallar earned the National African American Recognition Award, while senior Adam Fronduti was selected as a semifinalist in the 68th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.
Sallar said she took the PSAT last fall and did well on the test. Later, she received an email telling her she was eligible to apply for the recognition award. Sallar said there was no reason for her not to apply.
“Why not?” she said.
The decision to apply paid off as Sallar was ultimately selected for the award.
“I was really shocked,” she said. “I didn’t think I would get it to be honest. I was really surprised. It’s really cool.”
Sallar said the award has inspired her to push herself when it comes to the next PSAT she takes as well as the SAT, when the time eventually comes to take that test.
“I was a sophomore when I got it. It’s inspired me to do better on my next PSAT,” Sallar said. “After COVID, I was feeling down on my school work, but now I’ve been able to connect back in school and get more involved. I feel like this award helped me get more involved.”
Sallar said her older brother gave her a piece of advice that was helpful during the process, which was to treat the PSAT prep work like homework and do it as much as possible in her spare time.
“I’m really trying to do the best that I can,” Sallar said. “You can do a lot more than you think you can.”
Sallar said she plans to study in the medical field after she graduates.
As for the National Merit Scholarship Program, Fronduti said he heard about it around the time he took the SAT last school year. He said College and Career Counselor Jennifer Pollard walked him through “all the paperwork and necessary hoops to jump through.”
“I think I was interested to see what would happen!” Fronduti said.
What happened was Fronduti was named one of the 16,000 student semifinalists who will compete for one of more than 7,200 National Merit Scholarships worth close to $28 million next spring.
According to the organization, semifinalists can become a finalist by doing all of the following steps: completing an application; having a consistently very high academic record; writing an essay; being endorsed and recommended by a school official; and taking the SAT or ACT and earning a score that confirms their previous test performance.
“I think I’m more nervous now that I have to write an essay and do all the other stuff,” Fronduti said.
Fronduti added he appreciates the opportunity to take part in the competition.
“I was a little surprised and really grateful for all the help I got applying and learning about the scholarship,” Fronduti said. “I think I’m really lucky to have such great teachers and family supporting me, so I guess this was sort of a ‘cherry on top’”.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.