Two seniors named Commended Merit Scholar

Adam MacKenzie and Madi Nguyen have something in common. MacKenzie has attended GPA for 10 years, and Nguyen for 6. Nguyen is talkative, while MacKenzie is quiet. They don’t go to the same church, but they both are mission-minded, but that’s not it. The thing they have in common is actually extraordinarily rare.
In February, both seniors discovered they had earned the status of Commended Merit Scholar, which is something only 3% of seniors in the nation earn.
Ever since 2001, Grace Prep students have been winning Commended and National Merit Scholar Awards.
So far 38 students at GPA have earned commended scholar status, while 20 have been named National Merit Finalists. That is a huge percentage for our tiny school! That means about 5% of our graduating class is earning these prestigious awards each year, while only 3% of students in the entire nation are earning it.
These Scholar Awards are based off of their PSAT test scores.
“It was pretty cool to think that I had done better than almost the entire nation,” said MacKenzie when he discovered he had won Commended Scholar.
Nguyen took Mrs. Hamilton’s class at Grace Prep to improve her PSAT scores. She had also taken one test prep class before the test, because she feels like it’s good to go over specifically what will be on the test. She is planning on going to UTA and is majoring in biology.
“I didn’t expect it, but I felt accomplished,” said Nguyen when she found out about it.
MacKenzie didn’t take any test-prep classes, which is an amazing accomplishment for getting good scores. His comparison of scores from sophomore year and junior year of reading and math went up 67 to 74, and 67 to 68. He plans on going to UTA and majoring in history with pre-law.
“All of the curriculum that Grace Prep teaches translates very well to the test,” said MacKenzie about how teachers at Grace helped him prepare despite taking no prep classes.
“I did not encounter a single question that addressed something I hadn’t been taught here. I would say that the focus on kids succeeding at the test definitely helped,” said MacKenzie.
Both students are well-rounded. Mackenzie was on the Grace Prep football team as a Free Safety on defense and Wide Receiver on offense.
“He doesn’t talk when he works,” said Junior and football team member Phillip Grayson. “But he was always where he needed to be to catch the ball and make the play.”
Nguyen is involved in key club and hands and feet ministry she began several years ago.
Denise Webb, College Advisor does suggest all students take a test prep class before the PSAT, as it will help with that test, and the SAT.

Adam MacKenzie received his Commended Scholar Award from Dr. Marc Evans last month. Adam and Madi represent the top 3% PSAT scores in the nation.

Adam MacKenzie received his Commended Scholar Award from Dr. Marc Evans last month. Adam and Madi represent the top 3% PSAT scores in the nation.

Dr. Marc Evans presents Madi Nguyen with her Commended Scholar award, earned by her PSAT test scores, and recommendation letters.

Dr. Marc Evans presents Madi Nguyen with her Commended Scholar award, earned by her PSAT test scores, and recommendation letters.

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