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National Merit recognizes six OHS seniors

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Three Orono High School students have been designated as semifinalists in the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program. An additional three OHS students achieved commended status.

The semifinalists are:  Joseph Kahnke, son of Randall and Elisabeth Kahnke, Long Lake; Nora Luetmer, daughter of Mark and Elizabeth Luetmer, Medina; and Betsy Surver, daughter of David and Kristin Surver, Long Lake.

The commended students are: Melanie Iversen, daughter of Alfred and Brenda Iversen, Navarre; Maighread Shaughnessy, daughter of David and Ann Shaughnessy, Long Lake; and Ronan Winkels, son of Thomas and Rose Winkels, Independence.

All of the students will be honored by the Orono School Board at its meeting Monday, Nov. 14.

About 1.6 million students in more than 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 7,500 scholarships worth $33 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 2017. 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 230 corporations and business organizations will underwrite about 1,000 corporate-sponsored scholarships for finalists who meet their specified criteria.

About 190 colleges and universities will finance some 4,000 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 323,000 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 2017 competition, commended students placed among the top 5 percent of students taking the qualifying exam.

Orono Public Schools