APPLE SPRINGS, TX (KTRE) – More than a million students apply and fewer than two percent are named National Merit Scholarship finalists. One of those selected-- a senior at Apple Springs High School.
17-year-old Emily Poirier stays busy.
"I'm a basketball player and a cheerleader and I also work and I'm involved in my church and so I've found time to balance all that stuff but academics is definitely a high priority for me," said Poirier.
There's little free time left over for the Apple Springs high school senior but Emily says it's worth it.
"It's exciting. You know I worked really hard to study for the PSAT and the SAT so it's a cool reward."
Emily is the first Apple Springs student to become a finalist for the National Merit Scholarship Program.
"It's quite an honor for the school given the small number of students that actually come through and graduate from Apple Springs," said Emily's science teacher and the school's assistant principal, David Hebert.
Emily's competition was tough. Of the 1.5 million entrants, 50,000 qualify for recognition but only 15,000 students became finalists.
"You're talking about an elite group and it's admirable that my child is there. It's exciting," said Emily's proud mother and math teacher, Janet Bazar. "She spent several hours a day studying and making sure that she took practice tests and reading and writing."
With impressive tests scores, Emily's hard work has paid off. Superintendent Gregg Spivey says he's confident her achievements will lead the way for more success stories.
"If we can put forth a National Merit Scholar finalist out here in little Apple Springs then that opens the door for any students," said Spivey.
With only 70 high school students, educators say this proves something big can come from small schools like Apple Springs.
"It doesn't matter where you come from. It matters where you're going," said Bazar.
As if Emily wasn't already an astounding student, she'll attend Yale University this fall. Majoring in biology, she plans to eventually go to medical school.
In April, Emily will find out if she's selected as a national merit scholarship winner.