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Local students named National Merit scholars


Between three local high schools, there were 19 semifinalists in the National Merit scholarship competition, a competition that uses academic achievement to award financial aid to students across the country.

To qualify to participate in the program, students must take the Preliminary SAT as juniors. Of the 1.5 million juniors across the country who took the test in 2010, the top 16,000 are named semifinalists. Students then have the option to apply for scholarships following program criteria listed below. The National Merit program awards its own $2,500 scholarships and also selects winners for corporate- and college-sponsored awards.

National Merit Semifinalists

Last fall, approximately 16,000 semifinalists were named on a state representational basis in numbers proportional to each state’s percentage of the national total of graduating high school seniors. Semifinalists were the highest-scoring program entrants in each state and represented less than 1 percent of the nation’s seniors.

To compete for Merit Scholarship awards, semifinalists first had to advance to the finalist level of the competition by fulfilling additional requirements. Each semifinalist was asked to submit a detailed scholarship application, which included writing an essay and providing information about extracurricular activities, awards and leadership positions. Semifinalists also had to have an outstanding academic record, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official and earn SAT scores that confirmed the qualifying test performance.

Lake Oswego High School

Alexander B. Bard, Daniel Chen, Zoe L. Fridge, Ben C. Hawley, Sarah J. Ketler, Joanna H. Klitzke, Catherine E. McAnulty, James D. Saindon, Georgia G. Toal, Catherine F. Yee, Linda J. Yu, Kevin Zhou.

Lakeridge High School

Eva T. Davis, Daniel A. Kono, Justine A. Moore, Olivia J. Moore, Ruth E. Sylvester.

Riverdale High School

Katie L. Gillespie, Daniel P. Sakaguchi.

National Merit $2,500 Winners

From the semifinalist group, some 15,000 met requirements for finalist standing. The finalists were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors. To select scholarship winners, a committee of educators appraised a substantial amount of information submitted by both the finalists and their high schools: academic records, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from two standardized tests; contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the finalist; and a recommendation written by a high school official.

The number of winners named in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the nation’s graduating high school seniors.These scholars may use their awards at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university.

NMSC, a not-for-profit corporation that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 to conduct the National Merit Scholarship Program. The majority of National Merit Scholarships provided each year are made possible by the support of approximately 440 independent corporate and college sponsors. These sponsors join NMSC in its efforts to enhance educational opportunities for America’s scholastically talented youth and to encourage the pursuit of academic excellence.

— Joanna H. Klitzke, Lake Oswego High School

Scholarship underwritten by Liberty Mutual Scholarship Foundation

Probable career field: International Business

— Sean G. Petegorsky, Lake Oswego High School

Probable career field: Computer Science

— Daniel P. Sakaguchi, Riverdale High School

Probable career field: Electrical Engineering

College-sponsored Merit Scholarship Winners

College-sponsored Merit Scholarship winners are a part of the distinguished group of about 4,600 high school seniors who will receive National Merit Scholarships for college undergraduate study. Officials of each sponsor college selected their scholarship winners from among the finalists in the 2012 National Merit Scholarship Program who plan to attend their institution.

These awards provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution financing the scholarship. This year, 197 higher education institutions are underwriting Merit Scholarship awards through the National Merit Scholarship Program. Sponsor colleges and universities include 117 private and 80 public institutions located in 45 states and the District of Columbia.

By the conclusion of this year’s competition, about 8,300 academic champions will have won National Merit Scholarships worth over $35 million.

— Eva T. Davis, Lakeridge High School

Whitman College

Probable career field: Education

— Andrew B. Gass, homeschool

Oregon State University

Probable career field: Engineering

— Daniel A. Kono, Lakeridge High School

University of Oregon scholarship

Probable career field: Law

— Catherine E. McAnulty, Lake Oswego High School

Boston College

Probable career field: Medicine

— James D. Saindon, Lake Oswego High School

Harvey Mudd College scholarship

Probable career field: Software Engineering

— Kevin Mingyu Zhou, Lake Oswego High School

Washington University in St. Louis scholarship

Probable career field: Engineering

Corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship Winners

Approximately 1,000 distinguished high school seniors have won corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarship awards financed by about 200 corporations, company foundations and other business organizations.

Scholars were selected from students who advanced to the Finalist level in the National Merit Scholarship competition and met criteria of their scholarship sponsors. Corporate sponsors provide National Merit Scholarships for Finalists who are children of their employees, who are residents of communities the company serves or who plan to pursue college majors or careers the sponsor wishes to encourage.

Most of these awards are renewable for up to four years of college undergraduate study and provide annual stipends that range from $500 to $10,000 per year. Some provide a single payment between $2,500 and $5,000. Recipients can use their awards at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university of their choice.

— Ruth E. Sylvester, Lakeridge High School

Probable career field: Law

Rockwell Collins Scholarship.