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Norwalk Spear

Norwalk student is named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist

Logan Plourde scored in the top 1 percent on the PSAT
Logan Plourde studies in his home on Thursday, Oct. 26. Logan was one of 16,000 students across America and the only Norwalk student selected this year to be a National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist.
(Brayden Plourde)

Every year 1.5 million high school juniors try to qualify for a National Merit Scholarship, but only around 1% of this group are named semifinalists. NHS is home to one of these students, senior Logan Plourde. 

Logan Plourde is a National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist, so in order for Logan to be a finalist he has to submit an essay, a letter of recommendation, ACT or SAT scores, and high school transcript. If he is selected as a finalist he can receive reduced tuition to certain colleges. Logan said he was grateful for this opportunity.

“I was very happy that I got it,” he said. “ [Being one of] 16,000 out of 1.5 million is a very big deal.” 

Logan said that if he is named a finalist he may receive scholarship money to one of his top three schools, which are Emory, Florida State, and University of Miami. After high school Logan plans to attend one of these schools and go in the medical field to become a neurosurgeon.

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Logan said he knew he did well on the test due to his prior experiences.

“This is not the first standardized test I’ve taken,” Logan said. “I’ve taken at least three SATs and at least two ACTs prior to this, and I did take the PSAT before this as well.”

Logan is one of many student athletes at Norwalk. He participates in cross country and robotics. As Logan handles both cross country and robotics practices along with homework, he said that there were multiple sacrifices that he made during his preparation.

“I cut out homework time and free time when I was studying,” he said. “Free time was not a priority anymore. So things like movies, shows, games, I didn’t have much time for that.”

Logan said that there were important people that helped him along the way.

“Probably [my] dad because he certainly has great investment in my future and is the one to push me and go out and do these things,” Logan said.

Logan believed that this test didn’t just teach him about English and math, but something more.

“It certainly taught me the importance of hard work and perseverance even if you don’t want to do something,” Logan said. “The discipline to make sure to not deviate from the studying path and not to give in to temptations like video games and such.”

Logan said if you want to do well on standardized tests, you have to take it seriously. 

“If you do want to do well, you gotta make sure you allocate enough time for studying,” he said. “You gotta put it as a high priority on your to-do-list.”

Norwalk Assistant Principal Marla Frantum oversees the PSAT test and works with students throughout the application process. Frantum said that getting National Merit Semifinalist isn’t an everyday thing.

“It is extremely difficult,” Frantum said. 

Frantum also said that the National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists are based on your state. So the top 1% of that state’s population that take the PSAT will qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist. Due to this, there are only around 16,000 National Merit Semifinalists across the U.S.

Frantum said that Logan has a good opportunity in front of him due to this award. Right now Logan is a semifinalist, but he has an opportunity to become a finalist.

“Logan has a good chance,” Frantum said. “It just depends on where he wants to go to school and then it also just depends on his area of interest. But without a doubt he has a very high chance to be a finalist… Where he stands, he should be a finalist.”

Frantum said that they won’t know if Logan is a finalist until late April to the first of May.

Logan said that someone who was a big part of his success was his dad, Jason Plourde. Jason said he helped Logan during the studying process.

“I’m kind of a planner and I wanted to help Logan come up with a schedule,” Jason said. “But he is the one that agreed to study and put in the work.”

Jason said Logan took the PSAT and ACT the year before to gain more experience. Logan also took free online practice tests in July and continued during school.

“Once the school year started, there was less time because of his regular school work and activities, but he continued to study when he could,” Jason said. 

Jason said Logan’s achievement was well deserved.

“Logan has worked very hard on schoolwork for a long time… so I am very happy proud of him and very happy for him,” Jason said. 

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About the Contributor
Brayden Plourde
Brayden Plourde, Staff Writer
Brayden Plourde is a sophomore at NHS taking his first semester of journalism this year. Brayden is involved in multiple sports such as football, swimming, and track. One of his favorite things to do is watch movies, and one of his top picks is Ace Ventura Pet Detective. Something interesting about Brayden is that he was born in Rhode Island and has lived in 4 different states. “I want to be a sports journalist so it's a great opportunity to see if this is something I want to do when I'm older," he said.
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