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Rutherford County Schools

A pair of seniors from Central Magnet School — Isabella Goodnight and Elise Jones — were among the first group of winners of the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

They are two of approximately 1,000 distinguished high school graduates to win corporate-sponsored merit scholarships financed by about 160 corporations, company foundations and other business organizations.

Goodnight and Jones were both awarded the National Merit State Farm Companies Foundation Scholarship.

“The State Farm Companies Foundation believes in developing visionary youth through the power of education. Each spring, the Foundation awards 100 scholarships to legal dependents of employees, agents and retirees of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries,” according to a release from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Scholars were selected from students who advanced to the Finalist round of competition and met the criteria of their particular scholarship sponsor. Annual stipends range from $1,000 to $10,000 and most are renewable for up to four years, according to the NMSC.

Goodnight is planning to pursue a career in neuroscience, while Jones is expected to study economics.

As juniors, Goodnight and Jones were among more than 1.5 million students to enter the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program upon completing the 2018 Preliminary SAT / National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, and from which 16,000 semifinalists were selected.

For more information, log onto www.nationalmerit.org.

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