By Gabrielle Gasser EBS STAFF
BIG SKY – John Chadwell keeps busy balancing a hefty extracurricular schedule with his schoolwork. The Lone Peak High School senior has played the male lead in two high school musicals, is in a cappella and plays varsity basketball. But it’s his academic pursuits that have most recently paid off.
In September, Chadwell learned that his grade on the PSAT, or Preliminary Scholarship Aptitude Test, earned him recognition as a Commended Student from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.
Out of 1.5 million entrants, Chadwell became one of the 50,000 students with the highest PSAT/NMSQT scores to qualify for recognition in the scholarship program.
“It definitely feels good,” he said, “like hard work paying off.”
To enter the program, students must take the PSAT/NMSQT no later than their third year of high school and Chadwell has taken it three years in a row. His October 2020 score from his junior year is what qualified him for recognition this year.
The NMSC annually awards roughly 7,500 scholarships to high school students in the spring semester of their senior year. While Chadwell’s score will not garner scholarship money, the commendation recognizes his excellent performance on the PSAT/NMSQT.
“John Chadwell is an incredibly hard-working student, who is curious about the world and determined to make a positive impact,” wrote LPHS Principal Dr. Marlo Mitchem in an email to EBS. “I am very proud of all that John has and will accomplish!”
Chadwell has accomplished much in his tenure at LPHS.
This past July found Chadwell in Washington, D.C. serving as a senator from Montana in the American Legion Boys Nation program.
He has been president of Interact Club since the end of his freshman year, represented his class on Student Council for the past three years, currently serves as the treasurer of the LPHS chapter of National Honor Society, founded the Finance and Stock Club at the school, and participates in Mock Trial.
While still undecided on his college major, Chadwell said he will seek a four-year degree. He’s currently considering political science, public policy, anthropology, psychology and computer science as potential majors.
“Overall, with this award I’m really appreciative [and] I’m humbled,” said Chadwell, who thanked his teachers and parents for supporting his journey. “It’s encouraging for me and I think for others. It’s a sign to keep working and that good things come to those who work hard.”