When he got word that he was being named a semifinalist for the 2020 National Merit Scholarship, Brendan Goldaber smiled and thought back to his sophomore year at Alcuin School, his first after transferring from another local school.
“This place has made a big difference,” said Goldaber, who is the first high school student in Alcuin’s history to reach this level of the prestigious scholarship competition. “I’m able to succeed here more than anywhere else.”
The National Merit Scholarship is one of the most sought-after awards among high school seniors in the country. Last year over 1.5 million juniors from 21,000 high schools entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program. After whittling down its list to 16,000 semifinalists, that number still represents less than one percent of high school students in the United States.
A Dallas native, Goldaber arrived at Alcuin in 2017 and it wasn’t long before the Goldaber family realized things would be different.
“Brendan went from having to memorize a lot of information to begin a love of learning,” said Wendy Goldaber, Brendan’s mother. “When he got to Alcuin it’s like a light bulb turned on in his head and it’s all due to the teachers there. They really care about their students and what’s going on in their lives. It was just a big change of pace for him for the better.”
Goldaber’s intellectual curiosity soon made its way outside the classroom. He was among the first group of students to help launch the Alcuin Robotics Club. He is an avid singer, piano and ukulele player and has participated in Alcuin’s Ensemble Club since his sophomore year. After two years with the Hawks basketball team, Goldaber is now entering his third year with the school’s golf team.
“We are incredibly proud of Brendan and his accomplishments as a Semifinalist for the 2020 National Merit Scholarship,” said Walter Sorenson, Head of Alcuin School. “It’s been so gratifying for all of us to watch him flourish since his sophomore year here at Alcuin School. Brendan embodies what we believe all Alcuin students have the potential to become through our rigorous International Baccalaureate® program: a critical thinker, a creative problem-solver and a collaborative worker with a compassionate heart.”
Goldaber said he has his sights set on colleges such as Stanford, the University of Texas and the University of Michigan. By that time, he hopes to enter his freshman year as a National Merit Scholar.