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MVLA Boasts 32 National Merit Finalists

Students will compete for the prestigious $2,500 scholarships awarded across the country.

The National Merit Scholarship Program (NMSP) announced that 32 seniors from Mountain View Los Altos High School District’s senior class have qualified as finalists.

From Los Altos High School, the finalists are: Mya Ballin, Saleil Bhat, Rewa Bush, Jessica Cheng, Marissa Childs, , Kevin Friend, Vivian Hua, Audun Lin Johnson, Tomer Kaftan, Stephen Lai, , Matthew Orton, Nikita Rajan and Rowan Zellers.

From Mountain View High School, the finalists are John Byrom, Catherine Chen, Bryan Daetz, Anna Garachtchenko, Sophie Ho, Laura Hofen, Reyna Hulett, Joseph Kim, Max McCarthy, Jared Molas, Nikhil Nag, Ruchita Pendse, , Alexander Runke, Kevin Staatz, Charlotte Swasey and.

"The outstanding performance of these exceptional students reflects the rigor of our curriculum, the excellence of our instructional program, and the students’ academic prowess," MVLA Union High School District Associate Superintendent Brigitte Sarraf said. 

Each year, about 1.5 million entrants participate in the National Merit Scholarship Program, by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) in a program cosponsored by the College Board. The standardized test measures critical reading, math problem‐solving and writing skills. 

About 15,000 finalists are chosen, having gone through a rigorous qualification process, according to the NMSP. To become a finalist, a semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the high school principal, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test. The semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, which includes the student’s essay and information about the semifinalist’s participation and leadership in school and community activities

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2012. Every Finalist competes for one of the 2,500 National Merit $2,500 Scholarships. Those are awarded on a state-representational basis. Additionally, about 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards come from approximately 240 corporations and business organizations for finalists who meet their specified criteria. Also, some colleges and universities finance some 4,800 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for finalists who will attend the sponsor institution. About 200 colleges and universities participate in that program.

The National Merit Scholarship Program began in 1955 as a national competition to identify and honor academically talented United States high school students. 

"We look forward to hearing good news concerning those who have earned the Merit Scholar title,” Sarraf said. 

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