By: Sharon Aron Baron
Three Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School seniors have been named National Merit Scholars.
Kam Cheung, Talia Rumsky, and Karen Villancio-Wolter were chosen from a talent pool of more than 15,000 outstanding finalists in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program.
Cheung and Rumsky are from Coral Springs, and Villancio-Wolter is from Parkland.
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.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas had a total of nine semifinalists this year.
“This recognition is well-deserved and we are especially proud of these National Merit Scholars and their accomplishments,” said Superintendent Robert Runcie. “Their success is a reflection of their hard work and the dedication and commitment of their teachers and supportive families and the school community.”
These scholars were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors, who appraised a substantial amount of information submitted by both the finalists and their high schools: the academic record, including difficulty level of subjects, studied and grades earned; scores from the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT); contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the finalist; and a recommendation written by a high school official.
This year’s National Merit Scholarship Program began in October 2018 when over 1.5 million juniors in approximately 21,000 high schools took the 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. By the conclusion of the 2020 program, about 7,600 finalists will have earned the “Merit Scholar” title and received a total of over $30 million in college scholarships.
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