The National Merit Scholarship Program released the names of its 16,000 semi-finalists, and nine local students made the list.
Less than 1 percent of seniors in the United States qualified for the rigorous program with high scores on the 2013 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Next, they’ll compete for one of 2,500 scholarships awarded by the nonprofit organization next spring.
This is the first time in several years that Olympia High School has had so many National Merit semi-finalists, according to principal Matt Grant.
He described students who qualify for the National Merit scholarship as “academic stars.”
“Frequently when we think gifted, we assume that academic success comes naturally,” Grant said. “However my experience with these students is that most have spent countless hours working in all academic areas. These students show grit and determination to thrive in the most academically challenging environments. Most of their successes can be linked to resiliency and perseverance.”
According to the National Merit Scholarship Program, local semi-finalists are:
Ian Culhane, Olympia High School.
Adriana Elwood, Olympia High School.
Ernest Gu, Olympia High School.
Riana Hoagland, Olympia High School.
Addison Jeske, Pope John Paul II High School in Lacey.
James McClintock, Olympia High School.
Daniel Ryckman, Olympia High School.
Naomi Yamamoto, Capital High School.
Tim Xia, Olympia High School.
In addition, several local students were among the 34,000 teens named “Commended Students” by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. They won’t continue to the next round, but they placed in the top 5 percent of more than 1.5 million students who took the PSAT.
Individual schools and school districts release the names of Commended Students. Names of honorees submitted last week to The Olympian were: Kelly Doran, Wynne Lee and Dan Tran of North Thurston High School in Lacey; Morgan Stewart of Avanti High School in Olympia; Casey Whitt of Timberline High School in Lacey; and Bridget Long, Alex Quast and Alex Yantis of Capital High School.