Nine Father Ryan Seniors Honored
by the National Merit Scholarship Program
Nine members of the Class of 2019 have been honored by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.  Four individuals have been named Semifinalists, and five others have been named Commended Scholars.

The four Semifinalists are once again the largest number of any Catholic high school in Tennessee.
 
The Semifinalists are:
  • John Bottei
  • Kate Connor
  • Meg Connor
  • Ward Jaeger
The Commended Scholars are:
  • Owen Chamness
  • Joseph Gallivan
  • Truman McDaniel
  • T.J. Nicholson
  • Alex Saavedra
Congratulations to these nine! Click on the students' photos below to read more about their accomplishments.
National Merit Semifinalists

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  • John Bottei

    John is a St. Bernard alumnus and parishioner at St. Stephen who is taking six AP courses this year and has already completed five other AP courses. John is also an accomplished singer and actor, performing with both the Show Choir and the Purple Masque Players. 

    John is on the Relay for Life Committee, serving as Director of Production, and is on the inaugural Student Ministry Team, a group of 12 upperclassmen who help plan liturgies for the school.  
    A Peer Mentor, Student Ambassador, and an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, He is also on the Science Olympiad team, and a member of the Environmental Awareness Club.  

    He attended the Bethlehem Farm mission trip this past summer, regularly volunteers at Nations Ministry, and attends daily Mass. He's been on the Academic Dean's List all 12 quarters at Father Ryan. 


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  • Kate Connor

    Kate is a St. Henry alumna and parishioner who is currently taking five AP courses and has already completed three other AP courses.  A member of the Purple Masque Players on both the stage crew and as an actress since her freshman year, she has been involved in several plays and musicals during her time at Father Ryan.

    She is also an accomplished dancer who has performed in the Father Ryan Christmas Concert.  A regular volunteer at the Susan Gray School, Kate 
    is also a member of Model UN, the National Honor Society and the Cum Laude Society. She's been on the Academic Dean's List or Honor Roll all 12 quarters at Father Ryan. 


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  • Meg Connor

    Meg is a member of the Purple Masque Players, having worked on the stage crew as well as having acted in multiple Father Ryan productions.  In addition, her dancing talent was showcased in the school's annual Christmas concert. An active participant in Model UN, Meg is a member of the National Honor Society and the Cum Laude Society.

    This St. Henry graduate and parishioner is currently taking 
    six AP courses and has already completed two other AP coursesMeg also regularly volunteers at the Susan Gray School. She's been on the Academic Dean's List all 12 quarters at Father Ryan. 


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  • Ward Jaeger

    Ward came to Father Ryan from Arkansas’s Christ the King School and is an active musician and student.  He has completed two AP courses, is currently taking four AP courses and is also a member of the Father Ryan Marching Band. 

    In addition, Ward is a member of the Junior Classical League and is a
    n Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. He is on the inaugural Student Ministry Team, a group of 12 upperclassmen who help plan liturgies for the school. He's been on the Academic Dean's List all four quarters that he has been at Father Ryan.

    Ward attends Mass daily and often ministers as an Altar Server. 
    He is a parishioner of St. Philip.


National Merit Commended Scholars

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  • Owen Chamness

    Owen is a Christ the King alumnus and parishioner who is taking six AP courses this semester and has previously completed three other AP courses. His academic achievements have earned him a position on the Academic Dean's List for 12 quarters.   

    Owen is active in Campus Ministry, as an Altar Server, an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, and especially as the inaugural co-chair of the Student Ministry Team.  He also shares his musical gifts as part of the Wind Ensemble, is at home in the water as a member of the Swim and Dive Team, and has earned membership in the Cum Laude Society and National Honor Society. 

    Owen also finds time to give back, having completed a Catholic HEART Work Camp Mission Trip and participated in Alternative Spring Break.
     
     
      

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  • Joseph Gallivan

    Joseph Gallivan is a St. Bernard Academy alumnus and a parishioner at St. Ann. He is currently taking three AP courses, has completed one 
    additional AP course, and has been on the Honor Roll a total of six quarters. 

    Active in a number of different arenas on campus, Joseph is a member of The Purple Masque Players and will be working the tech crew in this fall's production of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. He is also in the Investment Club and the Respect Life Club in addition to playing on the Varsity Boys Soccer Team. 
     
     

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  • Truman McDaniel

    Truman McDaniel is an alumnus of Sunset Middle School and is a parishioner at Holy Family in Brentwood. The Senior Class President for Student Council, Truman is an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, active in the Junior Classical League, and is a member of the National Honor Society, the Cum Laude Society, and the Mu Alpha Theta Society. 

    An Eagle Scout, he also serves as a Peer Mentor and has twice been part of Alternative Spring Break. Truman is an accomplished musician.  He is a member of the Winter Drumline, the Marching Band, where he plays the baritone saxophone, and plays the cello at Mass. His artistic talents extend to photography; a photo of Truman's was used as the cover shot on the most recent issue of Irish Ayes.  

    He has made the Academic Dean's List all 12 quarters at Father Ryan and
     is currently taking six AP courses, with three other AP courses already completed. 

    In addition, he 
    teaches Sunday school at Holy Family and was one of two students who served on the Father Ryan Strategic Plan Steering Committee.  
     
     
     

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  • T.J. Nicholson

    T.J. Nicholson, a Christ the King alumnus and parishioner, is active in a number of programs and clubs on campus, from the Cooking Club, the American Sign Language Club, and the Junior Classical League to the Science Olympiad and the Student Ministry 
    Team. He's also a leader for the Marching Band, both for his trumpet playing and his presence and example to his fellow band members. 

    A member of the National Honor Society and the Cum Laude Society, he is also an Altar Server and an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. T.J. has been on the Academic Dean's List or Honor Roll all 12 quarters at Father Ryan.  

    He is currently taking 
    four AP courses and has already completed three other AP courses. He regularly ministers as an Altar Server.

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  • Alex Saavedra

    Alex Saavedra is a Montgomery Bell Academy alumnus and a St. Henry parishioner. Currently taking four AP courses and having completed four additional AP courses, Alex is a member of the National Honor Society and has been on the Academic Dean's List all 12 quarters at Father Ryan. 

    He is an active participant in the Marching Band and the Wind Ensemble, and has become a member of the new American Sign Language Club. In addition, he is one of the leaders of the Science Olympiad, which finished 2nd highest of all high schools in Middle Tennessee at last spring's State Science Olympiad Tournament.

    Alex has also been named to College Board's National Hispanic Recognition Program.
     
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 2018 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more than 308,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.