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Orono High School Boasts Nine National Merit Scholarship Students

The nationwide pool of semifinalists represents less than 1 percent of high school seniors in the United States.

Three Orono High School students have been designated as semifinalists in the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program. An additional six OHS students achieved commended status.

The semifinalists are Allison Cornelius, daughter of Richard and Linda Cornelius; AliceAnne Szeliga, daughter of Tim and Maggie Szeliga; and Joseph Vavra, son of Bill Vavra and Cynthia Schelske.

The six commended students are Paul Brauchle, Kolton Juusola, Trevor Knight, Abigal Saville, Preston Schlueter and Jack Witcher.

All of the students will be honored by the Orono School Board at its meeting Monday, Nov. 19. More than 1.5 million students in nearly 22,000 high schools entered this year’s competition by taking the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test as juniors.

The nationwide pool of semifinalists represents less than 1 percent of high school seniors in the United States.

About 90 percent of the 16,000 semifinalists are expected to become finalists and will be eligible to compete for some 8,300 scholarships worth $32 million.

To become a finalist, a semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by his/her school principal and earn SAT scores that confirm earlier test performance.  A self-descriptive essay and information about the semifinalist’s participation and leadership in school and community activities is also considered.

Three types of awards will be offered in 2013.  Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 scholarships to be awarded on a state representational basis.

In addition, some 240 corporations and business organizations will underwrite about 1,000 corporate-sponsored scholarships for finalists who meet their specified criteria.

About 200 colleges and universities will finance some 4,800 awards for finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.

Merit Scholarship winners will be announced in four installments between April and July.  These recipients will join more than 291,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.

Some 34,000 commended students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise.  Although they will not continue in the 2013 competition, commended students placed among the top 5 percent of students taking the qualifying exam.

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