HHS Senior wins National Merit Scholarship

HHS Senior wins National Merit Scholarship
Posted on 05/01/2019

Hickory High Student Wins National Merit Scholarship

Mac Johnson, 17, a senior at Hickory High School, is a recipient of the National Merit Scholarship with the National Merit BB&T Scholarship Program.

Over 1.6 million high school students in 22,000 high schools entered the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Of the 1.6 million, 1000 students are selected nationally, and this year, Mac Johnson was named on the national level as one of the 1000 student winners.

As a National Merit Scholar, Johnson will receive a four-year renewable scholarship. Johnson has been accepted to the University of Virginia where he intends to study chemistry and biology in pursuit of a career in medicine.

The son of Liz and Vince Johnson and brother to two siblings, Mac shared that his top high school experience was attending the NC Governor’s School last summer. “It was the best opportunity and learning experience, by far,” said Johnson. “I was immersed in an academic environment with similar people who enjoyed the intellectual arena. I also made great friends—and we remain in contact, today,” said Johnson.

The focus on academics has always been a strength for Johnson. He’s committed to his grades with a current grade point average (GPA) of “4.5” while actively participating in club leadership—including Key Club, serving as president, vice president, and editor; and Beta Club, serving as president. Additionally, Johnson is a member of the HHS Quiz Bowl and the National Honors Society.

Johnson is also an Eagle Scout, a lifetime achievement award that he earned in December, 2017, as a member of Boy Scout Troop 250 at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. “I’m especially proud of my Eagle Scout project which was the construction of an outdoor classroom for Arndt Middle School,” said Johnson. "The classroom included six metal benches, a center stage, a portable white board, and podium—all designed to serve at least 30 students.”

Johnson’s community service projects extend to working with the J. Iverson Riddle Developmental Center, a state government institution in Morganton, NC. The Riddle Center provides treatment and care for persons with developmental challenges. Each year, Johnson helps to provide decorated shoeboxes filled with gifts for the residents while providing food, drinks, and music for a center celebration.

In the midst of Johnson’s journey, filled with academic perseverance and community service, he is also an athlete. Johnson is an active runner with the Hickory High track and cross country. “I just completed my first marathon at Myrtle Beach which was 26.2 miles. I met my goal to achieve this run in less than five hours,” said Johnson.

A self-proclaimed perfectionist, Johnson understands that in order to achieve excellence, he sometimes gives up on other personal pursuits or needs—including sleep! “I pulled some all-nighters last year for a few of my Advanced Placement classes,” he said. Johnson expects those sleepless nights might happen again at UVA—but he welcomes the challenging classes in preparation to become a surgeon.

Before the university studies begin this fall, Johnson is joining one of his favorite Hickory High instructors, history teacher, Drew Daniels, along with other teachers and students, for a tour of historical WWII sites in Europe.

Reflecting on his four years at Hickory High, Johnson says one of his greatest lessons was discovering that students can create separate paths to success. “Getting from point A to the destination doesn’t always mean following the same journey as everyone else. I hit my stride during my junior year and realized that I could follow my own path to achieve my desired goals,” said Johnson.

Congratulations, Mac Johnson!
Incredible journey!

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

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