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John Marshall High School Student Nate Flowers Named National Merit Semifinalist


GLEN DALE — John Marshall High School senior Nate Flowers’ hard work and inquisitive nature have earned him a spot as a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist.

Flowers was one of 65 West Virginia high school seniors to qualify as a semifinalist, and the only Marshall County resident. Other local semifinalists were Brooke High School’s Logan White, Steubenville Catholic Central’s Jack Blake and East Liverpool High School’s Aaron White.

Flowers said he was notified in school by assistant principal Katie Dantrassy, who congratulated him in person.

“It was definitely a big moment for me,” Flowers said.

Flowers said his main focus at JMHS is engineering with Project Lead the Way, which he described as “a really big passion” of his, alongside math. Flowers plans to attend West Virginia University and study electrical engineering.

Engineering, Flowers elaborated, has long been a passion project for him. Last school year, Flowers looked into engineering a way to provide heated water to people when conventional methods are unavailable, inspired by the massive power outages earlier this year in Texas.

“One of the projects I worked on was alternative water heating. There’s definitely an issue, with things like the Texas water crisis, where power and gas lines go down and people don’t have access to hot water for things like bathing,” he said.

“I was looking into using chemical reactions to go and heat up water for people in a cheap, accessible and portable way, so people all over the world can have access during a major crisis like that. … COVID definitely hampered a lot of progress on that, but thankfully I have this year to look into and research more on that project, because I plan on doing more with that this year. It’s what I’m working on now. I use hydrochloric acid as one of my components, which catches some people off guard.”

Flowers qualified as a result of his combined scores in critical reading, mathematics and writing on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Nationwide, the semifinalists represent less than one percent of U.S high school seniors. The number of semifinalists in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

For his fellow students, Flowers said that teachers are a huge, untapped resource for personal development. He also encouraged them to keep up with learning on their own time using other resources.

“Definitely talk with your teachers,” he said. “That was one of the biggest resources I had; I had a lot of teachers our junior year who were really pushing for that. … If you ask them for help, they’ll definitely do everything they can to help you. Take some time, work on your Khan Academy as well. It’ll pay off.”

JMHS Principal Cassie Porter said Flowers was a stellar student and a great example of what John Marshall has to offer.

“I’m so excited for Nate,” she said. “John Marshall has been producing some stellar academic students for years, and Nate is no exception. He’s above and beyond the top of his class.

“If any student is interested, or sees that a student is thriving in a classroom, we are all about getting them what they need,” Porter added, “from extra tutoring to afterschool academics, really anything that a child would need, we’re ready to offer it to them.”

Flowers is the son of Christopher Flowers of Benwood and the grandson of Robert and Susan Flowers.

In a statement, Dantrassy had nothing but positive things to say about Flowers’ commitment to his schoolwork and to his community.

“Nate is truly interested in making a difference and pursuing what he is passionate about,” added Dantrassy. “I was so impressed with his engineering presentation last year because he chose to solve a problem that influenced our community and researched how that problem manifested across the country. You could just tell that he cared about finding a solution.

“Nate is well-spoken and knowledgeable; he knew the calculations to support his process and could convey those to his audience with confidence. I believe that Nate will make a difference in whatever field he chooses to pursue, and ultimately make a positive difference in the lives of those around him.”


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