By ANTHONY SPAULDING
Director of Communications
Pope John XXIII Regional High School
SPARTA — Pope John XXIII Regional High School seniors Emily Mundt and Ashley Potts have been recognized as 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program finalists.
Mundt and Potts are two of over 15,000 finalists who are competing to earn the title of Merit Scholar in the 65th year of the program, as announced by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.
“This honor means a lot to me,” Mundt said. “It’s nice to be recognized for all of the hard work that myself and Ashley have put in over the last four years. I’m very thankful for Pope John for helping me get to this point in my academic career.”
“It’s very exciting to be selected for such a prestigious award,” Potts said. “After working so hard in all my classes over the last four years, it’s great to earn this recognition and represent Pope John.”
Mundt and Potts earned their spots as finalists after competing in a pool of 1.5 million juniors across the country by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test and scoring one of the highest marks in New Jersey. In early September, the two girls were named semifinalists for the program.
Now that they have advanced to this stage of the program, Mundt and Potts have given Pope John a total of six National Merit Scholarship finalists since 2013-14. They joined a list that includes Ryan Fieldhouse (2013-14), Caroline Potts (2015-16), Rebecca Wiltshire (2016-17), and Caroline Morris (2017-18).
“We are thrilled that Emily and Ashley are finalists for the National Merit Scholarship Program,” Pope John XXIII Regional High School President Monsignor Kieran McHugh said. “We are very thankful for these young ladies for sharing their wonderful gifts and talents to our school community. They have proven to be two of the brightest students in the entire country. They are an ‘Honor to the Father.’”
NMSC says that “winners of Merit Scholarship awards (Merit Scholar designees) are chosen from the Finalist group based on their abilities, skills, and accomplishments—without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference. A variety of information is available for NMSC selectors to evaluate: the Finalist's academic record, information about the school's curricula and grading system, PSAT/NMSQT Selection Index score, the high school official's written recommendation, information about the student's activities and leadership, and the Finalist's own essay.”
Mundt and Potts each have impressive resumes to date.
A Hackettstown native, Mundt has earned Distinguished Honors in the classroom while taking courses such as AP Calculus BC, AP Chemistry, AP Biology, AP Macroeconomics, AP Microeconomics, AP Physics I, AP US Government, AP US History, AP European History, AP Comparative Government, AP Spanish, AP Statistics, AP English Language, and AP English Literature. In addition, she is a member of the 1400 SAT/31 ACT club, the National Honor Society, the Key Club, and the girls tennis team.
Potts, a Sparta resident, has also earned Distinguished Honors in the classroom while taking courses such as AP Calculus BC, AP Chemistry, AP Macroeconomics, AP Microeconomics, AP Computer Science, AP Physics I, AP Physics C, AP Environmental Science, AP Psychology, AP Spanish, AP English Language, and AP English Literature. In addition, she attended the 2019 Governor’s School of Engineering & Technology at Rutgers University School of Engineering, an intensive residential summer program that brought together some of New Jersey's most talented and motivated high school students. Potts is also a member of the 1400 SAT/31 ACT club, Stand Against Bullying club, the National Honor Society, the girls track and field team, and the girls cross country team.