Local Students are National Merit Semifinalists

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high-school-studentsThe National Merit Scholarship Corporation has begun its nationwide search for the students who will be named 2014 National Merit Scholars, winners of scholarships worth some $35 million that will be announced starting next spring.

As part of this first step, 51 Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) seniors have qualified by being named 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program semifinalists. The students from 11 Gwinnett high schools are part of approximately 16,000 top students from across the nation who will now compete for the official National Merit Scholar title and the thousands of dollars in scholarships that are annually awarded to graduating seniors along with the honor.

The 2014 Gwinnett National Merit Semifinalists are:

Berkmar High:
Mati T. Nemera

Brookwood High:
Nicholas J. Bond; Hannah Lee; Zahra Vasaya; and Martha S. Weber

Collins Hill High:
Riley M. Poynter

Duluth High:
Justin J. Choi, Nicole O. Hofmann, Ebuka Imachukwu, Jasmine D. Pillarisetti,
Jason S. Wang, and Angela L. Zhang

Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology:
Ryan T. Clark, Rachel E. Cooper, Yu Kyung Han, Erika L. Ikizake, William H. Jin, Ryan Kelly, Melissa L. Kuester, Cameron J. Rhodes, Mark Wang, and Michael Wang

Grayson High:
Christina T. Lanier

Mill Creek High:
Brian T. Horst, Joshua D. Neely, and Hyeonwoo Shim

Mountain View High:
Stephen B. Jenkins and Mary K. Wirl

North Gwinnett High:
Lauren B. Aycock, Eunhye Choi, Jason T. Feng, Apoorva Gangavelli, Caroline M. Howard, and Kamillah J. Kassam

Parkview High:
Aprotim C. Bhowmik, Nicholas S. Button, William D. Freeman, Scott P. Schultz, Lihua Shu, and Michael A. Yu

Peachtree Ridge High:
David T. Chen, Brian H. Chung, Nitant Dandekar, Hasit Dewan, Emily R. Evans, Andrew K. Huff, Leigh E. Johnson, Sujay Kalathoor, Jaerin Lee, Natalie C. Murray, Grace S. Pak, Leesa C. Quinlan, Tithi S. Raval, and Rikhil R. Shah

These 51 Gwinnett students, part of the class 2014, were chosen for this competitive process based on their college entrance exam scores. They are competing with other semifinalists from throughout the nation for some 8,000 National Merit scholarships, worth more than $35 million.

Approximately 1.5 million students in more than 22,000 high schools entered the competition last school year as juniors by taking the 2012 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as the initial screening for program entrants. The semifinalists named in the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program are the highest scoring entrants in each state.

A semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student”s earlier performance on the qualifying test. These academically talented students then compete to become finalists. That recognition is determined by looking at the student”s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, and honors and
awards received.

The students will compete for three types of National Merit Scholarships to be awarded in the spring of 2014.