Mount Airy High School student Elizabeth Dinkins has been named a semifinalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program.
Officials of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced their decision recently. Dinkins is one of about 16,000 semifinalists in the program. These high school seniors will continue in the competition for 8,300 merit scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be offered next spring.
The honor has not been earned by a Mount Airy High School senior since 2007 when Jill Refvem was named a semifinalist.
“Elizabeth deserves all the honors she can get because she has worked so hard,” said Guidance Counselor Joanna Refvem.
Dinkins holds national advance placement scholarship (AP) honors for scoring a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher in three AP exams. She attended the Governor’s School last summer and concentrated on mathematics. Refvem said that she was the school’s nominee for the summer program at Salem College.
Dinkins is the daughter of Dave and Josie Dinkins. She is the vice president of the school National Honor Society and is the vice president of the Interact Club, a service-based club affiliated with the Mount Airy Rotary Club.
She has been a starter on the school tennis team for the past three years, and she and her doubles partner, Jade Hughes, advanced to the state finals last season where the Bears earned the state championship. She is on the varsity swim team and specializes in breaststroke events and some medley relays.
Dinkins indicted she is ranked second in her class with a grade-point average of 4.75. Dinkins scored a total of 740 in math, 770 in reading and 800 in writing on the Scholastic Aptitude Test, out of a maximum available score of 800 in each category. The school has nominated her for the Morehead Scholarship which typically pays all expenses for students attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also has been nominated for the Park Scholarship which awards 45 finalists all expenses paid scholarships for North Carolina State.
Dinkins has served as a volunteer at the RidgeCrest Retirement and Assisted Living Community since ninth grade and has 125 hours of volunteer service. She and classmate Anna Culler established a weekly Bible study program at the school on Wednesday mornings.
“I am a Christian and my motto is from Matthew 5:16. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven,” said Dinkins. She attends Haymore Memorial Baptist Church and sings in the choir as well as playing hand bells. Dinkins also helps with the church’s vacation Bible school and has 35 hours of service logged there.
She said she credits her father, an ex-Marine, for the large part of her academic success because of the example of self-discipline he sets. Her mother, Josie, who is from Minnesota, was a chemistry major and Dinkins credits her example as the reason she likes science. Dinkins has three brothers, David, Michael and John.
“Family values are a big part of our family,” said Dinkins. “We do triathlons together, except for my mom, she’s the roving photographer.”
Her plans are to attend UNC-Chapel Hill and major in biology and business together with a minor in Spanish and hopes to enter the medical field. Her interest in medicine was sparked by her struggle and recovery from drug-induced Lupus.
This form of Lupus can be caused by a reaction to prescription medications and affects the victims auto-immune system temporarily from months to a few years.
“I am recovering and definitely better. Now I am playing tennis,” said Dinkins. “It (Lupus) was scary. I hate to call it a good thing, but I can say I’ve experienced what it is like to be sick. This has made me interested in possibly doing research on Lupus one day.”
Dinkins’ next step will be to apply for finalist honors. Individual schools recognize and set the level of funding for the scholarships. Once a finalist is accepted by a college or university, he or she is officially a National Merit Scholar. A total of 15,000 will advance to the finalist level in February and the winners of the 2013 scholarship will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July.
Reach David Broyles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1952.