SARTELL -- A Sartell student is one of just 15,000 finalists for a scholarship that draws in more than one million applicants.

Nicholas Juntunen, a senior at Sartell High School is in the top one-half of one percent of all 1.7 million students who took the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT), which is the first step to earn the scholarship.

Juntunen says after all the work that's gone into getting the scholarship, it's a great feeling to have gotten this far.

"It's really rewarding. There's a lot of hard work that goes into it, a lot of preparation. So to see it all paying off with something like this is great to see.

Juntunen is a student representative for the Sartell-St. Stephen ISD 748 School Board, Vice-President of the Student Council, Captain on the Track and Field team, and a Captain in Cross Country.

When it comes to managing his time and still doing well enough to earn a shot at the scholarship, Juntunen says, everything he does fits together, and he's got some help at the end of the day.

"It all goes together pretty well, just a lot of time-management and making sure I have my priorities set. Most of it falls together well, and I have a lot of people supporting me through it."

Juntunen says he's not sure about his college future, but he's narrowed his choices down to Boston University, Vanderbilt, and the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

The National Merit Scholarship Program is a competition that started in 1955. Beginning in March and going to June, NMSC lets around 7,500 finalists in the program know they've been selected for one of three levels of scholarships.

Merit Scholarship awards are supported by around 420 different sponsors and the NMSC's own money.