Wednesday, December 07, 2022

SHS teen named National Merit semi-finalist

Staff Writer | September 30, 2022 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT – Computers open up a world of possibilities, and Sandpoint High School junior Kynan Murphy is taking full advantage.

“You can do anything with them [computers]. You can create any you want,” Murphy said.

Murphy was named a semi-finalist for the National Merit Scholarship program. Murphy is in the running to receive one of 7,250 National Merit Scholarships worth a combined $28 million that will be awarded in the spring. However, Murphy still has a way to go before the finalist round.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation is a nonprofit organization that awards scholarships for further education without government-assisted funding. Instead, the scholarships are funded by NMSC with the help of over 340 businesses and higher education institutions. Intending to encourage scholastic excellence, NMSC officials said their partners align with that goal.

To be considered for a scholarship and advance to the next round Murphy will have to complete several application requirements, such as submitting a detailed application that includes Murphy’s academic record, community activities, and more. But it doesn’t stop there, Murphy will also have to be endorsed and recommended by a school official, write an essay, and score equal to or higher on either the SAT or ACT than he previously had. With a lengthy process in front of him, Murphy will have support. SHS post-secondary education counselor, Jeralyn Mire said she and anyone else at SHS will help him accomplish this.

Of the 16,000 students who qualified as semi-finalists, nearly 15,000 of them will advance to the finalist stage, and of that Mire said half will be awarded scholarships.

There are three types of scholarships that will be offered in the spring. Every student earning the finalist title will then compete for one of 2,500 scholarships totaling 2,500. For finalists who meet specific criteria over 180 business organizations will receive one of 950 corporate-sponsored scholarships. Finally, 160 colleges and universities are expected to finance 3,800 college-sponsored scholarships that will be awarded to finalists who attend a corresponding institution.

With a heavy interest in computer science and math, Murphy said he plans to use his scholarship to attend Idaho State University and get a degree in one of his interests. If awarded, Murphy will receive a full-ride scholarship to ISU that will cover tuition, room, and board for up to four years. Unsure of other schools he would like to attend, Murphy said with the help of Jeralyn Mire he intends to look at various schools and programs that would be most beneficial to his National Merit Scholar title.

Having always known he was gifted Murphy’s mother Amy told a story about how when Murphy was young, starting at 4 years old, he would go to restaurants for a sit-down meal with his family, but when the check came young Murphy would tally up the check with a tip and would be correct.

Murphy’s father, Michael, said that while his son's childhood aspirations of working for NASA have changed, changing to a career in computer science, he and his wife will support any path their son chooses.

Murphy seems to have fully immersed himself in the world of computer science, having joined a club called “Cyber Patriots” who learn various skills such as stopping a cyber attack and recently completed an IT internship. With his favorite class being Information Systems Technology and its teacher Alex Gray he is most fond of, Murphy said it’s just something about computers that “make sense”.

Over the coming months, Murphy, with the help of Mire, will work to finish and submit the extensive National Merit Finalist application while maintaining his grades and preparing for the SAT/ACT which he will also need to qualify for Finalist consideration.



National Merit semi-finalist Sandpoint High School senior Kynan Murphy poses for a photo with his parents, SHS principal Jacqueline Crossingham and Pictured left to right Amy Murphy, Michael Murphy, Kynan Murphy, Jacqueline Crossingham Becky Meyer

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