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High school seniors named National Merit Scholarship finalists

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Students from all three Catholic high schools in Nashville have been named as finalists in the prestigious National Merit Scholarship Program.

High school juniors from across the country enter the National Merit Scholarship program each year by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship qualifying test. In the fall of their senior year, students earning the top scores in each state are notified they have qualified as one of 16,000 finalists in the nation.

After meeting additional requirements, about 15,000 finalists are named, and they are eligible for college scholarships sponsored by the National Merit Scholarship Corp., corporations or colleges and universities.

Five seniors at Father Ryan High School have been named finalists.

Matt Calarco, who is taking six AP courses as a senior and completed four more as a junior. He is a member of the math honor society Mu Alpha Theta, the National Honor Society and the Cum Laude Society. He serves as a Student Ambassador, peer mentor and is a member of the rugby team. Calarco, the son of Kim and Matt Calarco, is a parishioner at Immaculate Conception Church in Clarksville.

Darrel Chen, who is taking six AP courses as a senior and completed six more as a junior and sophomore. He is a member of Mu Alpha Theta, the National Honor Society and the Cum Laude Society. He is a member of the lacrosse team. Chen, the son of Dr. Beverly Zak and Robert Chen, is a graduate of St. Bernard Academy and is a parishioner at Christ the King Church in Nashville.

Ian Galloway, who is taking two AP courses as a senior and completed six more as a junior and sophomore. He is a member of the Chinese Honor Society, the Purple Masque Players and the hockey team. Galloway, the son of Kathleen and Edward Gallaway, is a graduate of Overbrook School and is a parishioner at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Nashville.

Emily Phan, who is taking five AP courses as a senior and completed four more as a junior and sophomore. She is a member of Mu Alpha Theta, the National Honor Society and the Cum Laude Society. She was inducted into the St. Vincent de Paul Service Society as a junior in recognition of her community service activities, and is a member of Purple Masque Players, the Creative Writing Club and the lacrosse team. Phan, the daughter of Dorothy Walawender and Dac Phan, is a graduate of Christ the King School and a parishioner at Christ the King Church.

Grey Wilder, who is taking four AP courses as a senior after completing five more as a junior and sophomore. He is a member of Mu Alpha Theta, the National Honor Society and the Cum Laude Society. He was inducted into the St. Vincent de Paul Service Society as a junior in recognition of her community service activities and is a member of the Relay for Life committee. Wilder, son of Amy and Jason Wilder, is a graduate of Christ the King School and a parishioner at Christ the King Church.

Two students from St. Cecilia Academy were named finalists.

Andrea Arguello, who has taken nine AP classes during high school. She is a member of the rowing team, cross country team, National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, the school math team, and the Spanish Club. She also serves as class treasurer, president of the Student Ambassador Board, and a member of the Student Council. Arguello also does volunteer work with Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Nashville and is a cheerleader for the Montgomery Bell Academy football team. She is the daughter of Fernando and Alicia Arguello, a graduate of Overbrook School, and a parishioner at the Cathedral of the Incarnation. 

Meghan Rafoth, who has taken five AP classes through her high school years. Rafoth is a member of the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta and has participated in theater productions at St. Cecilia. Outside of school, she has danced for TMProductions. Rafoth, the daughter of Ryan and Jennifer Rafoth, is a graduate of St. Matthew School and a parishioner at St. Matthew Church.

Matthew Shipley, a senior at Pope John Paul II High School, also qualified as a finalist. 

Shipley has taken 11 AP courses during his four years at JPII. He placed first in the region in Algebra II in a math competition. Shipley has been active in the Youth in Government program, serving as Floor Leader at last year’s conference; he will serve as Lieutenant Governor in the upcoming conference this spring. He regularly volunteers at Bridge Ministry in Nashville, is the president of the school’s House of Gregory, is a JPII Ambassador, and was named a captain of the basketball team this year. He is the son of Mary and Darren Shipley.

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