Nine Father Ryan Seniors Honored
by the National Merit Scholarship Program
Five members of the Father Ryan Class of 2021 have been named National Merit Semifinalists and an additional four have been named Commended Scholars by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.  The total of five Semifinalists is once again the largest number of any Catholic high school in Tennessee.
 
The Semifinalists are:
            Matt Calarco
            Darrel Chen
            Ian Galloway
            Emily Phan
            Grey Wilder
 
The Commended Scholars are:
            Sam Deckbar
            Sam McNeill
            Jakob Merkelz
            Max Drexler
 
In making the announcement, Father Ryan Principal Paul Davis said, “These nine students demonstrate an exceptional level of academic achievement.  In addition, they reflect the intellectual strength and commitment of the faculty and all our students to excel at their highest levels. We are proud of these and all of our students, and we look forward to an exceptional senior year for each of them,” he concluded.


National Merit Semifinalists

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  • Matt Calarco

    Matt is a Rossview Middle School alumnus and a parishioner at Immaculate Conception Church in Clarksville. He is taking six AP courses as a senior and completed four additional AP courses as a junior.  He is a member of Mu Alpha Theta (math honor society), the National Honor Society, and the Cum Laude Society. Matt also serves as a Student Ambassador and a Peer Mentor, is a member of Emerald House, and plays on the Rugby team.


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  • Darrel Chen

    Darrel is a member of Emerald House, Mu Alpha Theta (math honor society), the National Honor Society, and the Cum Laude Society. He is taking six AP courses as a senior and completed six additional AP courses as a junior and sophomore.  A St. Bernard Academy alumnus and Christ the King parishioner, Darrel plays on the Irish Lacrosse team.


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  • Ian Galloway

    Ian came to Father Ryan from Overbrook School and is a Cathedral of the Incarnation parishioner. He is taking two AP courses as a senior and completed six additional AP courses as a junior and sophomore.  A member of the Chinese Honor Society and the Purple Masque Players, Ian plays on the Hockey team and is a member of Trinity House.


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  • Emily Phan

    A Christ the King alumna and parishioner, Emily is a member of the Mu Alpha Theta (math honor society), the National Honor Society and the Cum Laude Society. She is taking five AP courses her senior year, having already completed a total of four AP courses as a sophomore and junior. Active in service programs in the community, Emily earned induction into the St. Vincent de Paul Service Society as a junior, logging more than 120 service hours. She also performs with the Purple Masque Players, writes for the Creative Writing Club, and plays on the Lacrosse Team. Emily is a member of Trinity House.


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  • Grey Wilder

    A Norwood House member, Grey is taking four AP courses as a senior and completed five additional AP courses as a junior and sophomore.  He is a Christ the King alumnus and parishioner who is a member of the Mu Alpha Theta (math honor society), the National Honor Society, and the Cum Laude Society.  Grey is also active in service programs in the community, earning induction into the St. Vincent de Paul Service Society as a junior, and is a member of the Relay For Life Committee.


National Merit Commended Scholars

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  • Sam Deckbar

    Sam is a Christ the King alumnus and parishioner who is taking five AP courses this year and completed four additional AP courses as a junior and sophomore.  He is a member of Elliston House, Mu Alpha Theta (math honor society), the National Honor Society, the Chinese Honor Society, and Cum Laude Society. Sam serves as a  Student Ambassador, participates in Mock Trial, and is a member of the American Sign Language Club and the Relay For Life Committee. He also competes on the Cross Country and Lacrosse teams.


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  • Max Drexler

    Max is a St. Edward alumnus and parishioner who is active in the Marching Band and the Purple Masque Players. An Elliston House member, he is taking six AP courses this year and
    completed three additional AP courses as a junior and sophomore.  Max also serves as a Student Ambassador and is a member of the Mu Alpha Theta (math honor society), the National Honor Society, Tri-M Music Honor Society, Cum Laude Society, and the American Sign Language Club.


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  • Sam McNeill

    Sam is a member of Immaculata House, the National Honor Society, Science Olympiad, and the American Sign Language Club.  In addition, he competes in Cross Country.  He is taking four AP courses this year and completed four additional AP courses as a junior and sophomore. Sam is a graduate of St. Joseph Regional Catholic School in Florence, Alabama, and a Christ the King parishioner.


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  • Jakob Merkelz

    An Elliston House member, Jakob is taking three AP courses this year and completed three additional AP courses as a junior.  He is a member of the Junior Classical League and the Student Ministry Team as well as serving as a Peer Mentor. A parishioner of St. Mary of the Seven Sorrows, Jakob is an alumnus of St. Theresa Catholic School in Sugar Land, Texas.


About the National Merit Scholarship Program

The National Merit® Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®) – a test which serves as an initial screen of more than 1.5 million entrants each year – and by meeting published program entry/participation requirements. 

To be considered for a National Merit® Scholarship, Semifinalists must advance to Finalist standing in the competition by meeting high academic standards set by the National Merit® Scholarship Program.

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2021 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more than 353,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.