Jenks Graduates Most National Merit Scholars In School History

Monday, May 16th 2016, 10:49 pm
By: News On 6

Seniors at Jenks High School held their graduation ceremony at the Mabee Center Monday evening.

This class is graduating more National Merit Scholars this year than ever before in school history – boasting a total of 20 National Merit Scholars.

To put that in perspective, that's ten percent of all the scholars in the state of Oklahoma.

Right before his graduation ceremony, senior Thatcher Chonka didn't know how to feel.

"You kind of have this rush of emotions as we're all standing out here getting ready to go in," Chonka said.

Senior Natalie Wilkinson had mixed feelings about the big night.

"It's definitely bittersweet. I'm gonna miss all the friendships I've made in high school, but I'm excited to move on to the next chapter of my life," she said.

Both students are part of an elite group of academics in Oklahoma - they're both valedictorians, Thatcher even delivered the graduation speech.

They're also National Merit Scholars. That means they scored in the top percentile in the state on the practice SAT, earning them a prestigious scholarship worth several thousand dollars in college tuition.

Jenks had 20 National Merit Semi-finalists and 18 finalists this year, more than any other high school in Oklahoma.

Both studied hard and took prep courses for the test; but, they both said their motivation came from their peers.

"You saw so much success from a lot of kids in different areas, and you either got to be a part of that with other people or you got to watch other people do that and enjoy that," Chonka said.

Wilkinson said, "I feel like I've just been motivated by my fellow peers, and I feel like it's been a great place to excel. And coming out of Jenks, it feels really good."

National Merit Semi-Finalists In Oklahoma