Mason Lough, a senior at Wellington High School, has advanced to finalist standing in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program. Lough is among just 15,000 students nationwide to be selected for this honor.

Lough will find out around March if he is a National Merit Scholarship winner. But just being a finalist was enough to earn him a full ride scholarship to the college of his choice, Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.

“The president (of the university) has actually called and talked to me about it,” Lough said. He and his family are “just, like super, super happy and grateful that I will have my college completely covered.”

Lough, a National Honor Society student, plays saxophone in concert band at WHS and writes music and plays guitar in a musical duo with his younger brother, Hunter. The Lough Brothers have performed in South Central Kansas, Oklahoma and even some open mic gigs in Nashville. 

At Florida Atlantic University, Lough plans to major in music technology and would love to one day work with his favorite band, OneRepublic.

“I want to record people’s music for them,” he said. “I want to make their music radio quality.”

In September, Lough was named a semifinalist after taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screening of program entrants. The nationwide pool of semifinalists represented one percent of U.S. high school seniors and included the highest scoring entrants in each state.

To become a finalist, Lough and a high school official had to submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provided information about his academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. Lough also had to have an outstanding academic record, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, and earn SAT or ACT scores that confirmed his qualifying test performance.

“I’ve done a lot,” Lough said. “This is the culmination of all the work I’ve put into high school. College has just been something I figured I was going to do no matter what. It wasn’t a question.”

Cutline: Mason Lough, a National Merit Scholarship finalist, prepares for rounds in the 4A state Scholars Bowl tournament at Wellington High School.