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Senior Jenna McNally Named Semi-Finalist for National Merit Scholarship

Senior Jenna McNally has joined rarified air, as she was recently named as one of 18 semifinalists from Central New York for the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program.

To be recognized as a semifinalist for the program, students must score in the top one percent of SAT scores nationally. There are approximately 16,000 candidates nationwide who are vying for nearly $28 million in scholarship opportunities.

McNally said she was pleasantly surprised by being named a semifinalist.

“I went down to Mrs. Pirozzolo’s office for something unrelated and she told me the news. And I was pretty surprised,” she said. “I didn’t realize how rare it really is.”

High School Counselor Tracey Pirozzolo said the district is extremely proud of what McNally has been able to accomplish.

“We are all so extremely proud of Jenna and her accomplishments! Congratulations Jenna,” said Pirozzolo.

Being a senior, McNally is trying to enjoy her final year in Port Byron, while also keeping a pulse on what’s next after graduation. To that end, she has begun applying to colleges, and already knows what she’d like to do with her future.

“I’ll major in computer science. I’d like to be a software engineer,” she said. “It’s a way to be creative, but it’s not necessarily art. You can create something using a completely different set of rules that’s different from the expected meaning of creativity.”

Regardless of what the future holds, McNally knows she’ll miss roaming the halls of Port Byron CSD.

“It’s tight knit here. Like the drama club, we all know each other. Some of us have been together for six years, so we’re all really close,” she said. “In college, everyone is coming from somewhere else, and they don’t have those common grounds that we have here.”

As for what she’s looking most forward to during her senior year, McNally said simply being a senior is something she’s been excited about for a long time.

“I’m looking forward to just being a senior and being the oldest in the school,” she said. “And it’s bittersweet to be ending with drama club this year. Every year I’ve watched the seniors getting to do their final show, and now I am one of those seniors. It’s kind of surreal, but it’s also like, ‘Finally, I’m here.’”

McNally said she wanted to thank her family and friends for helping her reach this point, noting that they all helped make her into the person she is today.