By Leslie H. Dixon

PARIS — Ben Andrews of Norway, a senior at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, has been named a Merit Scholar.

Ben Andrews

Ben Andrews

The senior class valedictorian found out at a pep rally this week when the announcement was made.

“It’s just a tremendous award. There’s very, very few [Merit Scholars] in the country,” Principal Ted Moccia told the Advertiser Democrat on Tuesday, May 10.

Along with the designation comes a $2,500 scholarship, which Andrews said he will apply when he starts his college education next fall at Bowdoin College in Brunswick.

For consideration as a finalist, he had to complete a number of activities, including submitting a detailed application, having a consistently high academic record, writing an essay, being endorsed and recommended by a school official, and taking the SAT and earning a score that confirms his PSAT/NMSQT performance.

A senior at the comprehensive high school, he has been a captain of the cross country Nordic team, a member of the Math team and Boy Scouts, where he is working toward an Eagle Scout designation. As a multi-faceted musician, he also plays the viola in the high school orchestra and sings with the Chamber Choir, among other activities.

“Ben is an extremely intelligent young man who’s also very involved in the life of the school,” Moccia said of the young man he also described as caring and kind.

“He’s a well-rounded individual who will be very, very successful in life. He the type of kid you wish our other students will aspire to,” Moccia said. “We’re really proud he’s our student.”

Andrews lives with his parents Roberta and Jeffrey Andrews. His sister, Alyssa Andrews, is currently attending Colby College in Waterville.

A young man of few words, Andrews called the award, “a step forward.”

During an interview last fall when he was selected as one of four local area semi-finalists, he told the Advertiser Democrat, “My mother and father … have always encouraged me to do my best in school, to try different things and to keep my options open.”

Andrews also recently won the Principal’s Award for OHCHS.

According to the National Merit program officials, every finalist competed for one of 7,400 scholarships that were awarded on a state-representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards are provided by approximately 250 corporations and business organizations for finalists. About 190 colleges and universities finance some 3,900 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for finalists who attend the sponsor institution.

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