Waxahachie High School senior Tanner Kirk has been chosen as a semi-finalist in the 2012 National Merit Scholarship Program.

Out of the 1.5 million students across America that tested in the Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test, 16,000 semi-finalists have been named with about 15,000 expected to advance to the finalist level. The WHS senior, who is a native of Waxahachie, learned the news Sept. 14 that he was not just in the top 16,000 but has been bumped up to finalist level.

Merit Scholar winners will be announced in February 2012.

According to a press release, there are three types of National Merit Scholarships which will be offered in the spring of 2012. Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 240 corporations and business organizations for finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located. In addition, about 200 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,800 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.

Kirk has gone through the WISD system, attending Dunaway Elementary, Turner Middle School, Waxahachie Junior High and WHS.

The son of Kyle and Melody Kirk, Tanner has been active in Future Farmers of America all four of his high school years, and has competed in UIL Academic competition since he was a sophomore.

He’s still working on his plans after high school, but he envisions science being a major component.

“I haven’t decided where I’ll attend college – I’m going to apply to about four or five schools,” he said. “I want to go into some type of science or physics related field.”

Kirk revealed some of the greatest influences in his school years.

“All of my teachers have been so good,” he said. “Mrs. (Katherine) Aday really influenced me a lot in her science class, and also  Mrs. (Emily) Price in physics.”

During his down-time, Kirk enjoys reading, video games and movies.

He has one sister, Landri, 8, who attends Advantage Academy.

Contact Paul at paul.gauntt@wninews.com or 469-517-1450.