Hickory’s Grad Earns National Merit

Hickory Grad Earns National Merit
Posted on 07/02/2018

Olivia Belcher, a recent 2018 graduate of Hickory High, is a recipient of the National Merit Scholarship.

Over 1.6 million students entered the 2018 National Merit Scholarship program by taking the 2016 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).   From the initial entries, 16,000 semi-finalists are selected for further competition with approximately 7,000 students chosen as National Merit Scholars. 

As a National Merit Scholar, Belcher has been awarded a four-year renewable scholarship.  She was the only semi-finalist and winner to represent all of Catawba County in the 2018 competition. Belcher shared that Corning, Inc. served as her corporate sponsor for the National Merit Scholarship competition.

In addition to receiving the National Merit Scholarship, Belcher has been accepted into the Chancellor’s Leadership Development Program at North Carolina State University, where she will attend classes this fall. She has also been accepted into the NCSU Honors Program and the Ben Franklin Scholars Program. She plans to earn a double-major in bio-medical engineering and international studies/humanities.

Belcher is a product of Hickory Public Schools, having attended Oakwood Elementary and Grandview Middle, prior to her recent graduation from Hickory High. The daughter of Mark Belcher and Heidi Belcher, Olivia was very active in service organizations at Hickory High, including National Honor Society (Sec.), Beta Club, Interact (VP), HOSA (Sec.), Juniorettes, and she ran cross-country all four years of high school. Additionally, Olivia served as a “VolunTEEN” at Catawba Valley Medical Center.

Reflecting upon her greatest memories of attending Hickory Public Schools, Belcher shared that she enjoyed her challenging Advanced Placement (AP) US History class, taught by Drew Daniels. “He loves what he does; he loves his job more than any teacher I’ve ever experienced,” said Belcher. “Mr. Daniels pushes all of his students and puts a lot of effort into his lessons and he is clearly passionate about teaching.

“I also treasure the opportunity of attending the Governor’s School of North Carolina the summer before my senior year,” said Belcher. “I studied math at the West Campus/Salem College and really enjoyed the challenge. It was a solid experience and I made great friends. In fact, my roommate from Governor’s School will also be my roommate at NCSU!

“I am looking forward to the next steps in my education and I appreciate all of the support from my family, my friends, and my teachers,” said Belcher.


Olivia Belcher!

(Photo/post by Beverly Snowden, HPS director of communications)

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