Daum earns distinction as National Merit finalist

St. Dominic senior David Daum was recently selected as a National Merit Scholar finalist.

Approximately 15,000 students nationwide were chosen from the highest scorers in each state as National Merit Scholarship finalists. The seniors will compete this spring for 7,500 scholarships totaling over $30 million.

“It’s kind of hard for me to comprehend, honestly,” Daum said. “They say it’s top 15,000 in the country and it’s hard for me to wrap my head around what that really means.”

Daum said that he aims to study something, perhaps, in linguistics at a school either in the Chicago area or on the east coast.

He said that he’s excited to take part in the final portion of the process this spring because of what it could mean for his future.

“It’s something that would help me a lot because, for most of the schools I’m looking at, it’s a question of how much money I’d get,” Daum said. “It’s not really about whether I’ll get in or not.”

St. Dominic principal Stacy Stewart said that Daum represents all the best qualities in both a student and a young man.

Stewart added that she’s excited to see the bright future that lies ahead for Daum.

“David is a hard working individual that leads by example,” Stewart said. “He is a humble person and works well with others in challenging situations in the math and engineering classrooms. On a personal note, David is a very friendly young man and a very good person. The amount of effort that I have seen in him has been quite significant.  I am excited to see where life will take David and the impact he will have in our community and the world.” 

For his part, Daum said that he feels the future path he’s on, which would likely have to do with something in languages or linguistics, started at St. Dominic.

And it started in a French class, he said.

“The general education here is great but the French class is what really sparked my interest in just language, as a whole,” Daum said. “I really think that language or linguistics is what I’m looking at with French of East Asian Studies.”

Students vying for 2021 National Merit Scholarships represent about 1% of U.S. high school seniors. Honorees were named semifinalists in September 2020 based on their Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) scores and other factors, such as SAT scores, a student essay and a school recommendation.

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