Ruston High celebrates three 2024 National Merit semifinalists

By Kyle Roberts

Ruston High School announced Wednesday that three students had been named 2024 National Merit Semifinalists in Thomas Rogers, Jodi Dunbar, and Chaz Backhaus.

“What an amazing accomplishment for these three students,” Ruston High principal Dan Gressett said. “They scored in the top one-percent of all students in Louisiana taking the PSAT.

“Ruston High School hasn’t had three National Merit Semifinalists in the same year in about 10 years, so that makes this even more special. We are very proud of Jodi, Chaz, and Thomas and look forward to them advancing in the competition.”

Nearly 1.5 million students in the United Stats take the preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test and enter into competition in the National Merit Scholarship Program. Of those students, only 50,000 students qualify for program recognition.

The three Ruston students were part of the next round of 16,000 students recognized. More than 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of Finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.