Q&A with John Morgan Fahey, National Merit Semifinalist

Q&A with John Morgan Fahey, National Merit Semifinalist
Posted on 09/18/2019

John Morgan Fahey, a senior at Arlington High School, has been selected as a semifinalist for the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program!

Fahey is one of 16,000 students nationwide to be named a semifinalist and will now compete to become a finalist.

More than 1.5 million juniors representing 21,000 high schools across the country entered the 2020 National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test last year, and Fahey is among the highest-scoring students in the state of Tennessee!

We sat down with John Morgan to ask him about this recognition and learn more about his time as an AHS student.

Q: What does it mean to you being named a National Merit Semifinalist?

John Morgan: It feels amazing and is a great honor being named a National Merit Semifinalist. I took the PSAT last year to qualify and honestly forgot about it, and then on Monday, I learned that I was named a semifinalist. It’s nice to see that my hard work paid off.

Q: Where did you grow up and go to school?

John Morgan: I grew up a military kid for most of my life until my dad retired freshman year. I’ve spent my whole high school career in Arlington, but I was actually born in Whidbey Island, Washington and then moved to Fairfax, Virginia; Meridian, Mississippi… back to Whidbey Island. Now I’m here.

Q: What’s your favorite subject?

John Morgan: Math has always been my favorite class, and this year is fun because I have my favorite teacher again, Mr. Burge. I had him for Physics last year, and now I have him for AP Physics and AP Calculus BC. It’s great because I know what I’m doing, and I can help other kids in class who need it. Math just comes easily to me, and it’s enjoyable.

Q: What clubs and organizations have you joined at AHS?

John Morgan: I’m Senior Class President. I’m also in the Beta Club, National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society and the Key Club. I also play club soccer for Germantown Legends, and I play for the AHS Soccer team.

I’m even in the Quidditch Club. I play for the athletic portion more than the Harry Potter aspect. I’m the Gryffindor captain. My friend formed the club and made our group join it. At first, I was like, “I don’t know if I want to join the Harry Potter club,” but it’s been a lot of fun.

Last year, I recruited the entire soccer team. It’s way more competitive and requires much more athleticism than some people think. I got tackled last year. It’s intense.

Q: Where do you plan to attend college?

John Morgan: I’m in between Notre Dame, the University of Michigan and the University of Florida, but I think Notre Dame is my number one. My goal is to be an astronaut, so I’m looking into either Aerospace or Mechanical Engineering.

In order to be an astronaut, you have to have a master’s degree. I can go down one of two paths: be a mission specialist or the military route to be a commander or pilot. Since my dad was in the military, I’m looking down that route. Once I get my master’s degree, I’ll then join the military to become a pilot. I’ll need 1,500 hours as a pilot before I can become a test pilot, and then I’ll need another 1,500 hours before I can apply for NASA candidacy. You can see I have it planned out (he laughed).

Q: What will you miss most about high school?

John Morgan: I’ll probably miss my friends the most. We’re all planning to go to different schools across the country. There’s 10 of us in my group of friends. We hang out every weekend. We won’t be able to do that anymore, so I’ll definitely miss them once we graduate and move on to college.

I’ve really enjoyed Arlington. I really like the teachers here, and there’s a lot of extracurriculars that Arlington offers that I didn’t have where I lived before, so it’s been a nice opportunity to get involved, meet new people and make friends.

About the National Merit Scholarship Program:

To become a finalist, eligible seniors must write an essay, submit SAT or ACT scores and receive a high school official's recommendation for review. The National Merit Scholarship Corp. estimates about 15,000 of the 16,000 semifinalists will advance to the finalist level. Finalists will be notified in February 2020.