Ten 'Toppers are semifinalists in scholarship program

-A A +A
By Special to the Monitor

A recent announcement of the 51 public school students to be named semifinalists in the 54th annual National Merit Scholarship Program reveals that Los Alamos Public Schools is at the top of the list with the most semifinalists in New Mexico.

Ten Los Alamos students are semifinalists while La Cueva High School in Albuquerque has nine. New Mexico Education Secretary Veronica C. Garcia made the announcement.

In Los Alamos, the semifinalists are, Daniel Cox, Daniel Dyer, Lisa-Anne Hendricks, Adam Izraelevitz, Lindsey Jacobs, Adam Nekimken, Jonathan Robey, Bethany Sullivan, Daniel Trugman and Adam Trujillo.

More than 1.5 million juniors in more than 21,000 high schools entered the 2009 National Merit Program by taking the 2007 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The pool of semifinalists includes the highest scoring entrants in each state.

“These students have competed in academic competition on a national level and succeeded,” Garcia said. “What they have accomplished is a credit to them, their parents, and their schools.”

The academically talented high school seniors will continue in the competition for about 8,200 National Merit Scholarships, worth more than $35 million that will be offered next spring. About 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to advance to attain finalist standing, and approximately half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

To become a finalist, a semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the high school principal, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

The semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, including the student’s self-descriptive essay and information about the semifinalist’s participation and leadership in school and community activities.

Approximately 15,000 semifinalists are expected to advance to the finalist level. It is from this group that National Merit Scholarship winners will be chosen.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), a nonprofit organization that operates without government funding, was established in 1955 to conduct the annual National Merit program.

Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and approximately 500 business organizations and higher education institutions that share the goal of pursuing academic excellence.

For more information on the program, go to www.nationalmerit.org. Names of the semifinalists from public schools are attached to this release.