Gahanna Lincoln High School senior Kirstyn Thomas will attend the University of Cincinnati on a full scholarship, thanks to a recent academic achievement.
The National Merit Scholarship Corp. recently announced the names of outstanding African-American high school seniors who have won National Achievement Scholarship awards through the National Achievement Scholarship Program.
Thomas was named one of 700 recipients of a $2,500 scholarship.
All students who advanced to the finalist level in the 2014 competition were considered for the single-payment scholarships, which were awarded on a regional representation basis in proportion to the population of African-Americans in each geographic region, according to information from the National Merit Scholarship Corp.
Because Thomas is an Achievement finalist, the University of Cincinnati has awarded her a Cincinnatus Excellence Award that covers full tuition and housing for four years.
"I'm definitely excited," said Thomas said, who plans to major in biology for pre-med.
She said she hopes to become the first doctor in her family.
"I've always liked science," she said. "The past two years I took bioscience technology through Eastland-Fairfield (Career and Technical Schools). The teachers bring people in, and doctors have come. I shadowed Dr. (Brad) Desilva, a Gahanna grad, and figured it out."
At Gahanna Lincoln, Thomas has been on the swim team, serving as captain this year.
"We had a good year this year," she said. "We made it to the state meet on a relay and broke a school record."
She's also a member of the National Honor Society, and she has a 4.3 grade-point average on a weighted scale.
Principal Dwight Carter said Thomas is an amazing young lady.
"She not only excels academically, but athletically as well," he said. "She has proven to be a driven, hardworking and personable student. I am proud of what she accomplished, and I am certain she will continue to be successful in college."
School counselor Lauren Sommers said Thomas has impressed her as one of the most mature and dedicated students she has encountered in her career.
"Kirstyn has clear goals for her future, and I have no doubts that we will be hearing amazing things about her achievements in the future," Sommers said.
Kirstyn is the daughter of Clendon and Karyn Thomas.
The National Achievement Scholarship awards, totaling more than $2 million, are financed via grants from 31 corporate organizations and professional associations and by the National Merit Scholarship Corp.