McAuley senior is named National Merit Finalist

  • Written by By Kelly White

Maeve O’Rourke, a senior at Mother McAuley High School, has been named a finalist in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program.

O’Rourke, 18, was one of 16,000 students nationwide to be named a National Merit Semifinalist. Semifinalists were chosen based on PSAT scores. O’Rourke was selected as a finalist after completing an application, writing an essay and taking the SAT. These students were the highest-scoring entrants in each state.

“I am incredibly grateful to have been selected as a National Merit Finalist,” said O’Rourke, a resident of Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood. “It’s an exciting time as I get ready for college, and now this recognition is a great reminder that hard work pays off.”

“With the strong educational foundation built as a graduate of St. John Fisher, Maeve flourished in the challenging academic environment at Mother McAuley,” said Eileen Boyce, the Mother McAuley principal.

The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. The program is a nationwide competition for recognition and awards conducted by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. In each annual program, approximately 50,000 academically high school students are honored, but only 15,000 of them are named finalists.

O’Rourke has remained active at McAuley, participating in in cross-country, Math Macs and Student Ambassadors. She is also a leader of the National Honor Society, a member of the National English Honor Society, Catherine McAuley Honors Scholars, Junior Classical League and is involved in the St. John Fisher/Most Holy Redeemer Youth Ministry Program.

“Aside from elective courses, I have taken honors and AP classes as a way to challenge myself while taking advantage of the opportunities McAuley offers,” O’Rourke said.

She said attending McAuley has contributed to her academic success.

“I went through several pro-con lists before deciding on a high school, and I could not be happier with my decision,” O’Rourke said. “Mother McAuley has shaped me into an open-minded go-getter. Studying in an all-girls environment has given me a huge confidence boost.”

Her educational inspiration comes from Malala Yousafzai-Pakistani, the activist for female education and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate who survived being shot in the head for her beliefs.

“She inspires me to use my education as a vehicle for change,” O’Rourke said. “Her bravery reminds me that I have a responsibility to make the most of my education.”

O’Rourke has not yet decided on a college, but is planning to study English.