DELAVAN — Delavan-Darien High School is home to a National Merit Scholarship finalist.
Senior Hayley Severson learned of her achievement earlier this winter. She is among 15,000 top high school students nationwide to receive the honor.
As a finalist, Severson will now wait to see if she is awarded a $2,500 National Merit Scholarship, a corporate-sponsored merit scholar award, or a college-sponsored merit scholarship. Corporate and college scholarships are for varying amounts. She should learn of her award status in late April or sometime in May.
Severson was selected because of her high marks on the PSAT examination and outstanding academic promise. According to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation website, of the 1.5 million entrants each year, some 50,000 qualify for recognition in the scholarship program.
These students are narrowed down to commended students (approximately 34,000), semifinalists (16,000) and finalists (15,000).
While at DDHS, Severson has maintained cumulative Grade Point Average of 4.6. This year alone, she is taking five Advanced Placement courses — Government and Politics, Physics, English, Biology and Calculus. She is also taking Spanish IV and plans to take the AP test for that, too. Additionally, she’s a member of the school’s Lydian Choir, which is the top choir at DDHS.
Prior to her senior year, Severson took AP U.S. History, AP Psychology and took the AP Chemistry test after taking the Chemistry 2 course. She received passing marks on all three of those AP tests.
Depending on how she does on this year’s AP tests and where she continues her post-secondary studies, Severson could have enough credits to have or nearly have a sophomore standing before stepping foot on campus as a college student.
Severson has narrowed down her college list to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Marquette University, Drake University (Des Moines, Iowa), or the University of Oklahoma. She intends to become a pre-med student to study pediatrics or family practice. That could change depending on how her residency goes, she said.
Severson got into health and medicine because her parents Joe and Shari are both veterinarians.
“I thought about being a vet, but after a while, I decided I wanted to work with people,” she said. “I like the interaction with people better.
“Science has always been something that draws me, and I just like interacting with people. School is just about being involved, for me.”
Severson said the secret to her success has been to just try and enjoy being in school, learning, being with friends and becoming involved. That’s what makes it fun for her, she said.
Throughout her DDHS career, Severson has been involved in volleyball, basketball, track, student council, National Honor Society, and Varsity Club. She performed in the one-act plays her freshman year and was a Badger Girls State representative for DDHS as a junior. She also participated in the Wisconsin Leadership Seminar.
Outside of school, Severson has volunteered in the Patient Rehabilitation Department at Aurora Lakeland Medial Center in Elkhorn.
Severson, 18, of Delavan, is the oldest of three siblings. Her younger sister, Mikayla, is a junior at DDHS. Her younger brother, Ryan, is in seventh grade at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church with School.
Fun Fact: As a National Merit Finalist, Severson joins a list of prominent past finalists, including Microsoft Corporation founder Bill Gates, Amazon.com Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Bezos, U.S. Ambassador for the United Nations Susan Rice, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernake.
About the National Merit Scholarship Corporation
The National Merit Scholarship Corporation’s goals have remained constant since its inception:
- to identify and honor academically talented U.S. high school students
- to stimulate increased support for their education
- to provide efficient and effective scholarship program management for organizations that wish to sponsor college undergraduate scholarships
Through these endeavors, NMSC, which is committed to maintaining the highest standards, has earned a reputation for quality and integrity.
Since its founding, NMSC has recognized 2.9 million students and provided over 377,000 scholarships worth about $1.5 billion. The honors awarded by NMSC to exceptionally able students are viewed as definitive marks of excellence. Recipients of Merit Scholarship® awards, Achievement Scholarship® awards, and corporate-sponsored Special Scholarships have increased the nation’s respect for intellectual accomplishments and have contributed significantly to its talent pool of future leaders.
For more information about the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, visit: http://www.nationalmerit.org/.