McDonough Senior Named Semifinalist in Merit Scholar Program - Southern Maryland Headline News

McDonough Senior Named Semifinalist in Merit Scholar Program


Maurice J. McDonough High School senior Elizabeth Saoud. Maurice J. McDonough High School senior Elizabeth Saoud.

WALDORF, Md. (Sept. 18, 2017)—Maurice J. McDonough High School senior Elizabeth Saoud is working her way towards her high school graduation in June 2018, one Advanced Placement (AP) class at a time. As the current top ranking senior in the McDonough Class of 2018, Saoud has a full schedule of AP classes to keep her busy. Her passion for soccer keeps her busy outside of school, but Saoud finds the time to support her commitment to her future.

"I am a hard worker and have studied very hard to get to where I am now. I set goals, reach them and enjoy pushing myself to do my best," she said of her study habits. She has earned straight A grades since she began her high school career and took the Preliminary SAT, PSAT, exam as a freshman. Her performance on the PSAT, as well as the SAT, recently earned her recognition in a prestigious national scholarship program.

Saoud was named a semifinalist last week in the National Merit Scholarship Program, a scholarship program that recognizes some of the highest achieving high school seniors nationwide. Students are selected for recognition on their academic achievement, performance on the PSAT and SAT exams, community involvement and leadership experience.

Saoud is captain of the McDonough varsity soccer team and president of the National Honor Society. She is also the president of the Student Government Association and plays for a travel soccer league, Capital Futbol Club. Additionally, Saoud also received the grand award as a freshman at the CCPS Science Fair.

She said she was honored to learn she was chosen for recognition as a semifinalist in the merit scholar program. "This is a huge honor. I studied really hard for the PSAT and the SAT. If I am picked as a finalist, I will be honored and excited to receive any kind of scholarship assistance. It really is an honor just to be picked for this recognition," Saoud said.

Saoud's favorite subjects are science and math. She said her passion for these subjects helped to fuel her future plans. She plans to major in pre-medical studies with the goal of becoming either a surgeon or an anesthesiologist. "I want to do something challenging and really enjoy learning about math and science. When I was little, my parents told me I could do anything I wanted to do. I want to use those subjects and do something to help the community," Saoud said.

Saoud is enrolled in six AP classes this school year, and completed five courses during her sophomore and junior years. She has taken the accompanying exams for five classes and received a score of 5, the highest possible on an AP exam, on each exam.

One of her favorite classes is calculus, but not only because she loves the subject. Saoud said her calculus I teacher, Michael Swann, has a natural ability to push students to do their best. "I look up to Mr. Swann. I took his calculus I class and did well. He always helped me be confident in my abilities and to push myself when I thought I was not capable of something," she said.

Swann said he could not think of a more deserving student to be recognized through the scholarship program. "Elizabeth is a role model in and out of the classroom. She is kind to all those that she meets and works tirelessly to pursue her goals. She is proof that hard work and determination will be rewarded," Swann said.

The program is sponsored by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Finalists in the program receive a $2,500 scholarship, some of which are renewable. Saoud said the scholarship would help her fund her educational pursuits, which include attending either Yale University or Johns Hopkins University.

Saoud and nearly 16,000 other students nationwide advance to the finalist level. Semifinalists include the highest performing students from each state and scholarships are awarded on a state representational basis.

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