Licking Heights senior Brennan Barrington is the district's first winner of a $2,500 National Merit scholarship.
"He's one of our brightest students," said Elizabeth Hughes, Licking Heights High School guidance counselor. "He's always looking to gain more knowledge."
Students become eligible for the annual National Merit Scholarship competition by taking the PSAT test as juniors. They must perform well on the test, have an outstanding academic record, write an essay and be endorsed by the high school principal to be named scholarship finalists.
The National Merit Scholarship Corp. named 2,500 $2,500 scholarship recipients from a pool of more than 15,000.
Barrington said his essay was about "goals, what you're going to do with your future."
This fall, he plans to major in aerospace engineering in the Ohio State University's Honors and Scholars program.
Barrington said he anticipates his collegiate studies will be "interesting and informative."
Hughes said Barrington already has experience with higher education.
She said Barrington, who would search for classes to take that Licking Heights didn't offer, took courses through the Northwestern University Center for Talent Development's Gifted Learning Links.
"He always is trying to improve himself," Hughes said.