Alyssa Kayfes

Mountain View High School senior is one of the 16,000 semifinalists for the National Merit Scholarship.

Randy Metcalf/The Explorer

Mountain View High School Senior Alyssa Kayfes was recently selected as a National Merit Scholar semifinalist.

Kayfer, who is one of about 16,000 semifinalists within the U.S., will compete next spring for 8,300 National Merit scholarships worth more than $32 million offered next spring.

About 1.5 million students across the country apply for the scholarship.

After she was selected to be a semifinalist, Kayfes started to put together a packet to send off, which will help her stand out against half of the other semifinalists. 

Kayfes was also recognized by the Marana Unified School District School Board. 

“It’s really exciting,” Kayfes said. “I’m pretty humble. I completely did not expect to be National Merit semifinalist. So, that was amazing in the first place. I worked really hard and I am glad to make my family proud, but I wasn’t expecting any recognition for it.”

She thinks her PSAT score of 213, which put her in the 99th  percentile, helped set her apart from all of the others who applied.

Now, Kayfes is letting the program know about her club and community activities.

She is currently involved with organizing a charity event. She is also the president of the Interact Club, which is an extension of the Rotary Club. For the most part, in high schools, Interact has the sole goal of helping out the school and the community in any way that the club can. This year, the club is trying to get a charitable walk put together to raise funds for the Make a Wish Foundation.

“Unfortunately, I was not graced with athletic abilities, so I had to make up for it with other things. So, I like to do volunteering,” said Kayfes.

She points out that she donated her time at a tutoring center, which she said isn’t actual volunteering but thought it was one of the greatest jobs ever.

When she isn’t volunteering, Kayfes is involved with the math club, photography club. 

National Merit Scholarship winners will be announced in spring 2013.

If she receives the scholarship, she plans to use it for one of the three schools she applied for, and received acceptance letters from: University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University, and Azusa Pacific, in California. She hasn’t decided yet, but likes the Honors Program at both Azusa Pacific and the University of Arizona.

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. The semifinalists include the highest scoring entrants in each state.

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