Saint Bernard Prep School’s Emma Pierce named National Merit Semifinalist


Emma Pierce (St. Bernard Prep)

CULLMAN – Emma Pierce, a senior at St. Bernard Prep School, has been named Cullman County’s only National Merit Semifinalist in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program.

Pierce joined with approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 64th annual National Merit Scholarship Program where talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered next spring.  To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition.  More than 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

To become a finalist, Pierce must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which she will provide information about her academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received.

Pierce super-scored a 36 on the ACT and secured a 1520 SAT score.  Her leadership skills are endless as she has served as cheer captain of the cheerleading squad, class president during her 10-11th grade years and secretary of the senior class this year.  She was secretary of student council during her sophomore year and has served as a school ambassador since she came to St. Bernard as a freshman.  Last year she was selected to take part in the Cullman County Youth Leadership program through the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce.  She volunteers on a monthly basis to work at her church food pantry in addition to working as a volunteer at vacation bible school and at the local library. She has also provided over 600 hours of volunteer work with local physicians over the summer months.

From the approximately 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the finalist level, and in February they will notified of this designation.  All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of finalists.  Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin or religious preference.

St. Bernard Guidance Counselor Mary Mayo said while most all students at St. Bernard try to be their best, Pierce is one of those who looks forward to the next challenge.  “Emma is an excellent student who knows how to think and process information.  We look forward to good things from her.”

Pierce is the daughter of Kristopher and Stephanie Pierce of Holly Pond.