Huntsville High School senior Meyeneobong Inyang was selected in September as a semifinalist for a subcategory of the National Merit Scholarship Program.

The National Achievement Scholarship Program recognizes Black American students scoring high on the PSAT.

Inyang took the PSAT during her junior year in high school. It is a test of the students retention and understanding.

She submitted reference letters and a personal essay to compete in the finals.

“When I was in seventh grade my house burned down,” she said. “I wrote about how the fire effected me.”

Shirley Thompson, HHS 12th grade counselor, said she was moved by Inyang’s personal essay.

In the essay, she described the fire as an opportunity to give up, but instead it served as an inspiration for her to do her best no matter what.

“The essay is really important,” she said. “It shows her future hopes and aspirations.”

After graduation, Inyang wants to study pre-med at Rice University in Houston and has been interested in the human body since she was a child.

She is currently enrolled in several advanced placement courses and plays the flute in the band.

She is a member of several organizations, including the National Honor Society, Nu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society and an officer in Interact.

“I was surprised that I made it, but I’m really proud of myself,” Inyang said. “My parents are also really proud of my accomplishment.”

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation reported approximately 4,600 students were honored out of the 130,000 entered into the National Achievement Program in 2005.

About 3,000 students are referred to colleges, 1,600 students are named semi-finalists and 800 students are named finalists.

The National Achievement Program winners will be named in April.

To date, the program has recognized 185,000 participants and awarded 27,000 scholarships worth approximately $86 million.

The National Achievement Program was established in 1964 and a similar program exists for Hispanic students.

HHS has had several black and Hispanic students qualify for the scholarship programs in the past, but Inyang is the most recent.

“We’re really proud,” Thompson said. “It shows that our students can compete nationally.”