HUBBARD, TX — A senior from Hubbard High School was selected as a semifinalist for the National Merit Scholarship. He was one out of 1.5 million entries across the country.
Robert Cormier Jr., better known as RJ, says he never expected to land so high after taking his PSAT exam his junior year.
"I did good, but I didn't figure I would be top 16,000 in the nation," says RJ.
The National Merit Scholarship organization recognizes students with outstanding test scores, and every student who takes the PSAT is automatically entered for this scholarship.
RJ, his school and his family all heard the big news in September. He was one of 16,000 to be cut as a semifinalist and it's an opportunity that has already opened up many doors.
"[I'm] happy, it opens doors and takes money out of the equation and opens doors to almost any college," says RJ.
His parents couldn't be more proud and say it perfectly describes their son.
"I was over the moon, to see him get the accomplished and for other people to see what we have seen all along," said RJ's father Robert Cormier.
Not only did RJ excel in the classroom, but on the football field as well.
"RJ is making his grades while being a five sport athlete: football, baseball, track, basketball and power-lifting," said his father.
His principal, Dr. Joseph Ferguson, agrees.
"Everyone loves him and he keeps his head on his shoulders and has great parents behind him," said Ferguson.
This 17-year-old credits his family's military-style discipline for his drive to put his heart into everything he does in life.
RJ says whether he makes it as one of the 15,000 finalists or not, he has already won.
"He is a great kid, doesn't talk a lot but when he does everyone listens and he is just a great kid," said Ferguson.
The finalist will be announced in February and will be chosen based on their ACT scores. RJ scored a 35 out of 36 on his exam.
He hopes to study nuclear engineering and says he is excited for what the future holds.