JOPLIN, Mo. — An elite national list now includes a Joplin student.

“So I’m going to be finally graduating after a lot of years here,” said Nico Carlson, Natl. Merit Finalist.

In fact, 15 years for Nico Carlson at Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School. This is a special day since she’s now officially a National Merit Scholar.

“It makes me feel pretty good. We’ve been taking the PSAT here since like eighth grade, I think, maybe seventh grade. I don’t even remember. So I’ve taken it a lot of times, and I’m kind of weird, like, I like taking standardized tests. So I think that helped me out though, because I always have a little bit of fun doing it. It’s nice to see all these tests we are taking, it’s nice to see that they have an end outcome that’s can be really positive for you,” said Carlson.

Nico gets a $2500 scholarship with the new recognition. It’s something that could have an impact far beyond that.

“It’s really helpful in applications for other scholarships and other opportunities in general. Just having the name National Merit Scholar on an application is really helpful,” said Carlson.

Nico is planning to go to Washington University in St. Louis. She says her time at TJ helped build her success as a National Merit Scholar.

“I’m so thankful to have been able to go here for my entire education because it really makes me feel really prepared for college,” said Carlson.

TJ President Jeff Park points to a long list of achievements that led up to this point.

“What a fantastic accomplishment for Nico. For her family, her classmates, and especially the teachers that got to work with her,” said Jeff Park, TJ President.

Nico is planning to study Philosophy Neuroscience Psychology and hopes to bring that experience back to boost education.