Bourbon County High School Student, Joel Patrick, Wins National Merit Scholar Finalist


Joel Patrick, Bourbon County High School senior, National Merit Scholar Finalist

Sophia Prichard, Sr. Editor

Joel Patrick’s latest achievement, as a National Merit Scholar Finalist, is yet another in a long line of academic excellence. An ACT composite score of 35, and a perfect score of 36 in the STEM categories, a weighted GPA of 4.32, and completed 9 Advanced Placement (AP) classes. Joel is also a member of the E-Sports team, former member of the academic team, and a mainstay of the High School’s Principal’s List. 

Joel’s love of STEM is purest in Computer Science, not just as an academic pursuit, but also as a hobby. Joel spends spare time working on his own code and apps, while also juggling his classes. This year, Joel takes AP Literature and Composition, AP Physics C: Mechanics, and also acts as a Peer Tutor for AP World History Modern, Algebra 2, Algebra 2 Honors, and Algebra 1 Honors. Taking AP Physics C is especially difficult, seeing as how no teacher at Bourbon County High School actually teaches it. Joel meets virtually once a week with Lewis Acampora, a Chemistry Professor at University of Louisville, to learn Physics, but primarily independently studies. 

When asked what the process of becoming a National Merit Scholar Finalist looks like, Joel answered, “When taking the PSAT, make sure to select ‘Yes’ for using the test to qualify for NMS (National Merit Scholar). Afterwards, you’ll be notified of your status as a semi-finalist, if you qualify. You’ll then complete the finalist application, which covers an essay, teacher recommendation, extracurriculars, etc. To be considered as a finalist, your principal has to submit the application.”

Joel also provides some advice for incoming students, “Practice the ACT or SAT and make sure you participate in extracurricular activities that matter, and that you genuinely enjoy and care about.” After graduation, Joel will attend Morehead State University on a full tuition scholarship, majoring and conducting research in Computer Science, and hopes to pursue graduate studies after his undergraduate degree.