The top one percent: Five in Danville/Boyle schools qualify as National Merit Scholar finalists

Published 1:44 am Friday, February 24, 2017

Five seniors in Danville and Boyle County schools have secured their places among the best of the best as National Merit Scholar finalists for 2017.

Anna Duncan, Kate Leahey, Wesley Wei and Taylor Whitsell, all from Boyle County High School; and Abigail Anderson from Danville High School; were named finalists earlier this month.

To qualify as finalists of the National Merit Scholarship program, students must score the top one percent on the PSAT. They must also be qualified as semi finalists, meaning they must fulfill several requirements, including an application process, an essay, being endorsed by a school official, and taking the SAT.

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The students will receive consideration for scholarships, which won’t be handed out until March, at the earliest. 

Abigail Anderson is the daughter of Kay and Lowry Anderson.

While at Danville High School, Abigail has been part of the forensics program.

Abigail is deciding between Washington University and the University of Chicago. She plans to pursue degrees in English and writing and wants to become a professor. 

Anna Duncan is the daughter of Jim and Sharon Duncan. 

While at Boyle County High School, Anna has played tennis and been an athletic trainer for the football team.

Anna has not yet decided between Centre College and Wofford College in South Carolina. She wants to follow a pre medical track, to eventually become a cardiologist or orthopedic surgeon. 

Kate Leahey is the daughter of Beth and Jamey Leahey.

While at the Boyle County High School, Kate has been on the swimming and tennis teams, as well as a member of the Y-Club.

Currently, Kate is undecided on a college, but wants to do something in environmental studies. 

Wesley Wei is the son of Alex Wei and Lucy Huang.

While at Boyle County High School, Wesley has been the manager of the cross country team, has been on the track team and a member of Y Club.

Welsey is planning to attend Vanderbilt University in the fall, to study chemistry. 

Taylor Whitsell is the son of Chris and Christy Whitsell.

While at Boyle County High School, Taylor has been on the cross country and track teams, and has been involved with Y Club. He was the president of the club and president of the international court of justice at the Kentucky United Nations Assembly, the club’s spring state conference.

Currently, Taylor is undecided on a college, but is hoping to study international relations and minor in Arabic. He hopes to become a U.S. diplomat in the Foreign Service.

Follow Kendra Peek on Twitter, @knpeek.


Also becoming finalists:

• John Carver, Garrard County High School.

• Auburn Mattingly, Lincoln County High School

• Nicholas McClain, Mercer County Senior High School.