Trinity-Byrnes senior named National Merit Scholarship winner

Cates Grier Saleeby Photo contributed.

Cates Grier Saleeby
Photo contributed.

Cates Grier Saleeby, a senior at Trinity Byrnes Collegiate School, has been named a 2016 National Merit Scholarship Corporation winner and a recipient of one of the prestigious NMSC $2500 scholarships. She is the daughter of Jay and Gailey Saleeby of Florence.

In October of 2014, over 1.5 million juniors in some 22,000 high schools took the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. Last fall, the highest-scoring participants in each state, representing less than one percent of the nation’s high school seniors, were named Semifinalists. A second round of judging produced 15,000 finalists whose qualifications were appraised by a select committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors. Factors evaluated were the student’s academic record including difficulty of coursework, two standardized test scores, contributions and leadership in school and community activities, an essay, and letter of recommendation written by a high school official. Students with the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies became the 7500 Finalists who earned the title of Merit Scholar.

Cates’ academic and personal accomplishments were recognized in middle school. It was clear, very early on, that Cates was a true academician, who learned concepts easily and “got inside” the subject matter. She worked ahead in all of her classes and doubled some of her core courses each year. Cates studied AP Latin, AP Literature, and AP US History in tenth grade, took a dual enrollment course, Advanced Studies in Latin, her junior year and level two of Advanced Studies in Latin during her senior year. Having already completed both AP Language and AP Literature, World Literature Post AP Analysis, was created to accommodate Cates’ academic needs during her senior year. Cates will graduate with nearly perfect scores in ten AP courses, a record for Trinity-Byrnes Collegiate School.

Cates’ strengths extend beyond her unique talents in the classroom. She is an accomplished athlete and captain of the cross country, track, and tennis teams, a trained docent at the Florence County Museum as an in-gallery tour guide for Art, Science, and History, and the winner of the Junior League of Florence Leader in Action Award for the countless hours of volunteer service she has given to our community. In addition to Cates many noteworthy accomplishments are her endearing personality and spirit demonstrated routinely by actions such as taking the time to find the opposing team’s coach after a match or race to thank him or her (win or lose), cheer a teammate across the finish line, or tutor a friend before studying the material herself. Cates is loyal, humble, calm, caring, and a giving soul who can’t be defined by awards. Her true brilliance shines from within.

Cates has been accepted to Harvard, Princeton, Washington and Lee, Amherst, Williams, Davidson (Chambers Scholarship), USC Honors (Carolina Scholars Award), University of the South (Vice Chancellor Scholarship), and Vanderbilt University (Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholarship). She will attend Vanderbilt University in the fall.

Author: Jana Pye

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