By Jill Fox
The Yareds are like any other family in Parkland; however, all three children were recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Corp for their top test-taking scores.
In 2017, Cyril Yared, the oldest, was recognized for being a National Merit Commended Scholar, and in 2018, his sister, Florence, was named a National Merit Scholarship Finalist.
Following the successes achieved by her siblings, Christine, the youngest of three Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School graduates, was also named a National Merit Scholarship Finalist.
Each year, the National Merit Scholarship Corp. screens approximately 1.5 million qualifying entrants. Students who score in the top 3-4 percent on their PSAT are named National Merit Commended Scholars. Test takers who score in the top 1 percent are named semifinalists. For Florence and Christine to become finalists, they had to have high academic performance in grades 9 through 12, be fully endorsed for Finalist standing. They must receive a recommendation from the high school principal, along with retaking the SAT or ACT and earning scores comparable to their semifinalist PSAT score.
Parents: Nayla, a business consultant, and Nadim, a CEO for a medical device company, really have no secret to their children’s success.
“They did it on their own,” said Nayla.
Since kindergarten, their children: Cyril, Florence, and Christine, have been wholly independent and self-motivated. While the girls aren’t competitive, Christine, who graduates in June, said her motivation for becoming a National Merit Scholar was based on other people’s confusion.
“When my sister won, people kept congratulating me, so it was a running joke in our family — that was what motivated me,” she said.
The Yared family has lived in Parkland’s Heron Bay since 2013, and all three accomplished students are French citizens who speak fluent French. Both Cyril and Florence attend McGill University in Montreal, Canada, but Christine hasn’t yet decided to join them.
“It’s very validating to receive this honor while I’m still waiting to hear back from some schools,” said Christine, who’s interested in politics, and plans to major in political science.
“Being in Parkland, politics have become a big part of my life, and I want to continue that beyond high school,” she said.
Nayla describes her daughter as being brilliant, funny, and creative.
“She’s the last one here, so she brings a lot of livelihood to the home,” she said. “I will definitely miss her when she goes to college.”
In May, Christine will learn if she is a recipient of one of the $2,500 National Merit Scholarships.
“I’m very honored,” she said. “It’s a nice feeling that all my work in high school has paid off.”
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- Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She has worked on the public relations side as well as the television side of marketing for NBC Universal. A true Floridian, Fox grew up in Ormond Beach and now resides in Parkland with her husband, Brian and their two children, Madden, 11 and Randi, 7.
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