Hmm... I know that Exeter or Andover dosen't offer merit-based scholarships, perhaps that girl who you mentioned got it from a third-party organization (Which typically getting more than 5,000 is hard, unless you're in some invite-only organization, like Jack & Jill.)
If you're looking for schools that have merit-based SPS is the best way to go. (IMO)
Try scheduling your interviews (or putting of your applications... this can hurt or help you, it's your choice) until December/January and put in a lot of community service hours each weekend.