by: SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: MARK MILLER - Chrystian Cox, left, and Ambrose Robinson, right, the St. Helens High School seniors who received letters of commendation from the National Merit Scholarship Corp. this fall.The National Merit Scholarship Corp. awarded two St. Helens High School seniors with letters of commendation last month to recognize “their outstanding performance” on a qualifying test.

Chrystian Cox and Ambrose Robinson were among 50,000 students nationwide, out of some 1.5 million who took the test in an effort to qualify for the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program, who were selected for recognition by the Evanston, Ill.-based group.

“Commended Students are being recognized for the exceptional academic promise demonstrated by their outstanding performance on the qualifying test used for program entry,” the Sept. 17 letter to St. Helens High principal BG Aguirre read in part. “They will not, however, continue in the competition for National Merit Scholarships to be offered next spring.”

Only 16,000 of the 50,000 honored students were selected as semifinalists, who will remain eligible for next year’s scholarships.

Robinson said Wednesday, Oct. 2, that his older brother, who is now a sophomore in college, was a finalist in the program when he was in high school.

“My brother did very well,” said Robinson. “I wasn’t quite there, but got close.”

Cox said he is a naturally good test-taker and that he is pleased with his commendation.

“I’m feeling pretty good,” Cox said. “Kind of exciting.”

Both Cox and Robinson said they are looking at continuing on with their academics in college after they graduate next year.

Aguirre praised the commended students in an email Wednesday.

“I am so proud of both of Ambrose and Chrystian and feel honored to be their principal here at St. Helens High School,” Aguirre wrote. “Both of them are remarkable young men who will go on to do amazing things in the future.”

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