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Carl Albert senior named National Merit Semifinalist

Carl Albert’s Theo Stephens among the top 1 percent of all U.S. high school seniors

By Jeff Harrison
Managing Editor

Carl Albert senior Theo Stephens, 17, was named a 2018 National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist. He plans to study chemical engineering and math at the University of Oklahoma next year. (Staff photo by Jeff Harrison)


A Carl Albert High School senior has been named a 2018 National Merit Scholarship semifinalist.

Theo Stephens, 17, is among the 16,000 students nationwide that were selected as semifinalists and will compete for more than $32 million in college scholarships. The pool of semifinalists makes up less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors.

More than 1.6 million students across the country entered the National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test or PSAT last year. The number of semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

Stephens felt good about his chances of making the National Merit Scholarship after comparing his scores to those from the previous year. Last week, he received the good news.

“I knew I would be close and I was really happy when I got confirmation,” Stephens said.

Semifinalists now must submit a detailed scholarship application, SAT scores, an essay and be endorsed by a high school official. Finalists will be announced in February and winners will be announced beginning in April.

Stephens plans to attend the University of Oklahoma and double major in chemical engineering and mathematics. He wants to pursue a career as a chemical engineer.
The senior was turned on to the career path during an engineering class his sophomore year. Students were asked to research careers in engineering. Stephens interviewed a chemical engineer at Tinker Air Force Base and was hooked.

“That really helped solidify what I wanted to do,” he said.

Music is also a big part of Stephens life. He plays trumpet in the Carl Albert High School marching and concert bands. During marching season, the band spends about 14-15 hours per week practicing before, during and after school.

Stephens also finds time to work part time as a math tutor at Mathnasium Learning Center.

Three other Mid-Del students were recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Program. Ethan Ho, of Del City, and Perry McCollum, of Carl Albert, were named National Merit Commended Students. These students receive recognition for their outstanding academic promise.

Samantha Martinez, of Del City, was named a National Hispanic Scholar. The National Merit Program recognizes Hispanic and Latino high school students based on PSAT scores and grade point average.

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