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OHS students receive National Merit honors

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Two Orono High School students have been designated as semifinalists in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program.  An additional three OHS students achieved commended status.  All of the students will be honored by the Orono School Board at its meeting Tuesday, November 12.

The semifinalists are:National Merit Scholarship program logo

  • Brendan Kanwischer, son of Jeff and Tenley Kanwischer, Maple Grove
  • Sara Murley, daughter of Todd and Mary Murley, Long Lake

The commended students are:

  • William Buck, son of James and Lisa Buck, Independence
  • Meghan Chouanard, daughter of Kevin and Melinda Chouanard, Maple Plain
  • Lindsey Schultz, daughter of Brad and Lisa Schultz, Plymouth

More than 1.5 million students in approximately 21,000 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.

Some 34,000 commended students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise.  Although they will not continue in the 2020 competition, commended students placed among the top 50,000 of students taking the qualifying exam.

About 15,000 of the 16,000 semifinalists are expected to become finalists and will be eligible to compete for some 7,600 scholarships worth more than $31 million.

To become a finalist, a semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application in which they provide information about the semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment and honors and awards received.  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 or ACT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

Three types of awards will be offered in 2020:

  • Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 scholarships to be awarded on a state representational basis
  • Some 220 corporations and business organizations will underwrite about 1,000 corporate-sponsored scholarships for finalists who meet their specified criteria
  • About 180 colleges and universities will finance some 4,100 awards for finalists who will attend the sponsor institution

Merit Scholarship winners will be announced in four announcements between April and July.  These recipients will join more than 345,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.

Picture of 5 National Merit students

The five Orono High School students recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Program are, from left, (front row) Sara Murley, Lindsay Schultz and Meghan Chouanard. Back row – William Buck and Brendan Kanwischer.