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By ALAINA BARTEL
Daily News Staff Writer
Ketchikan High School senior Grant Collins is Kayhi’s first National Merit Scholarship Finalist in two years — and before that, Kayhi had not had a finalist in about a decade.
Robert McClory, Kayhi guidance counselor, said that because of Collins’ award, many schools will offer him a full tuition scholarship.
“This is a rare and very important achievement for Grant,” McClory said in an email to the Daily News.
Around 15,000 other students from around the country are finalists alongside Collins, who is the son of Johanna and Eric Collins.
Every sophomore at Kayhi who takes the PSAT their sophomore year has the opportunity to go after the award, and the organization narrows down the semifinalists based on their scores.
After that, Collins had to submit an essay and list his extracurricular activities. In his essay, Collins wrote about growing up with his older brother, and their relationship. His brother Logan has now graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and is an electrical engineer.
Collin’s extracurricular activities include National Honor Society, the Student Body Association and Boy Scouts. He also played soccer and was a wrestler in past years before he tore his ACL. He’s also taking five AP courses this semester.
“He is a self-starter and has not needed any prodding from his parents in terms of academics,” Johanna Collins said in an email to the Daily News. “He signed up for the rigorous academic schedule he has, despite my actual discouragement because I wanted him to enjoy his senior year a bit more. He still finds time to spend with friends, so that’s good.”
Half of the National Merit Scholarship finalists are given a $2,500 scholarship. Grant Collins said if a student receives that, then they are considered a National Merit Scholar.
If a student takes a full tuition scholarship from a school, they are not eligible to receive the $2,500 scholarship — it’s just for finalists that don’t receive a different offer, according to Collins.
Collins is considering two schools, Fordham University in New York, and Pacific Lutheran University in Washington. He said both schools have opportunities for full tuition scholarships. Collins said he’s not sure what he’d like to study quite yet.
“I’m just going to get my general studies out of the way and hopefully find something I’m interested in,” he said.