Bullitt East High School senior Sean Woods has been named a 2017 National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist.
The 17 year-old son of Rick and Krista Woods of Mt. Washington is one of 16,000 semi-finalists across the nation and now pursues becoming a finalist and, ultimately, the recipient of a National Merit Scholarship.
“I was excited to receive the letter,” Sean said. “I told my parents, starting with my Dad, and they were excited for me as well.”
This distinction started when Sean took the PSAT in October 2016 during his junior year. That written exam consisted of questions in subjects such as mathematics, reading and writing.
“There were no issues with the questions or time limit,” he said. “I felt confident.”
Results from last fall were released only recently. Sean scored in the 99 percentile and in the 219 selection index to earn semifinalist status.
The cutoff in Kentucky to become a semifinalist was between 211 and 216. Students under the cutoff received Letters of Commendation.
The next steps toward becoming a finalist include completing an application, performing very well on the SAT exam, writing an essay, creating a resume and getting a nomination letter from guidance counselor Crystal Barr.
Sean will learn in February 2018 if he is a National Merit Scholar finalist. He has a sterling high school academic record in his favor.
He carries a 4.48 grade point average and scored 35 out of a possible 36 on the ACT. The lowest grade on any test he has ever taken during his high school career filled with 13 advanced courses and three dual credit courses for college credit is a 93.
Sean has maintained astonishing academics while involved in a myriad of clubs and activities including Beta Club and Project Unity (Elizabeth, his sister and a BE sophomore is also a member), Academic Team Captain, Vice President of both the Beta Club and National Honor Society, Student Leadership and Action Mentorship (SLAM), Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Track.
How does he balance such a schedule?
“I have wondered the same thing,” Sean smiled. ”It’s about time management and prioritizing what is important. I use any extra free time to work on school assignments but I just like staying busy. It gives me a sense of accomplishment.”
“I have had a great experience in Bullitt County Schools from Old Mill Elementary to Mt. Washington Middle and now at Bullitt East,” he continued. “Elementary and middle school gave me the necessary building blocks for success.”
His favorite school subjects are biological sciences, anatomy and chemistry, and he will miss the Bullitt East teachers in those fields.
Sean aspires to attend a Kentucky college and become a doctor specializing in neurology.
“The brain fascinates me,” he said. “Having seen the impact dementia and Alzheimer’s disease has had on some of my family, my desire is to research and create treatment that will help patients.”
What kind of a teenager willingly gives five weeks during summer break to keep learning?
Students who are named Governor’s Scholars. Sean thoroughly enjoyed his experience at Murray State University.
“It makes your summer,” he said. “It was really fun and I got to interact with students my age across Kentucky. My focus was biological/environmental sciences and it gave me incredible new perspective and insights into those fields.”