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Two Seniors Earn National Merit Scholarships

Congratulations to Michael Bowler and Alastair Cho who are among 2,500 winners of the National Merit $2500 Scholarship. The two seniors were chosen from a pool of more than 15,000 outstanding finalists in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program. National Merit $2500 Scholarship winners are the finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The number of winners named in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the nation’s graduating high school seniors.

Michael and Alastair were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors, who appraised a substantial amount of information including the students’ academic record; scores from two standardized tests; contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay; and a recommendation. Next fall, Michael will attend the University of Virginia and Alastair will study at Princeton University.

This year’s National Merit Scholarship Program began in October 2017 when more than 1.6 million juniors in approximately 22,000 high schools took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. Last fall, the highest-scoring participants in each state, representing less than one percent of the nation’s high school seniors, were named semifinalists on a state-representational basis. Only these 16,000 semifinalists had an opportunity to continue in the competition. From the semifinalist group, some 15,000 students met the very high academic standards and other requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition.