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Local National Merit Scholars announced

Updated: June 23, 2014 10:53AM



The National Merit Scholarship Corp. recently announced this year’s 2,500 National Merit $2,500 Scholarship winners, according to a press release. The Merit Scholars were chosen from more than 15,000 finalists in the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program, the release said.

National Merit $2,500 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, the release said.

These Scholars were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors who appraised information submitted by both the finalists and their high schools: the academic record, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from two standardized tests; contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the finalist and a recommendation written by a high school official, according to the release.

Scholars may use their awards at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university.

This year’s competition for National Merit Scholarships began in October 2012 when approximately 1.5 million juniors in 22,000 high schools took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The highest-scoring participants in each state, representing less than 1 percent of the nation’s high school seniors, were named semifinalists on a state representational basis, the release said.

Only these 16,000 semifinalists had an opportunity to continue in the competition.

From the semifinalist group, 15,000 students met the very high academic standards and other requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. By the conclusion of the 2014 program, about 8,000 finalists will have earned the “Merit Scholar” title and received a total of more than $35 million in college scholarships, the release said.

The National Merit Scholarship Corp., a nonprofit that operates without government assistance, was founded in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. The majority of scholarships offered each year are underwritten by about 440 independent corporate and college sponsors that share the goals of honoring scholastically talented youth and encouraging academic excellence at all levels of education, according to the release.

Southland 2014 National Merit $2,500 Scholarship winners are as follows:

Kurt J. Lezon (Frankfort), Lincoln-Way East High School; Jenna Sobczyk (Lockport), Lockport Township High School; Kasper C. Borys (Mokena), Lincoln-Way East High School; Michelle L. Dundek (New Lenox), Lincoln-Way Central High School; Adam M. Gleisner (Orland Park), Sandburg High School; Paige M. Kordas (Orland Park), Sandburg High School; Michaela M. Minock (Peotone), Peotone High School; and Eric J. Connelly (Tinley Park), Providence Catholic High School.

Staff report



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