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Forsyth students named Merit Scholars

FORSYTH COUNTY -- Eleven local graduating seniors have been awarded a prestigious college scholarship.

The National Merit Scholarship Program recognizes students who, as juniors, earned the highest scores in their state on the 2014 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

These students are among about 7,500 seniors who will have earned the “Merit Scholar” title and received a total of about $33 million in college scholarships by the end of the program.

“We are so proud of our National Merit winners,” said Gary Davison, principal at Lambert High School, which boasted the most Merit Scholars this year. “Their dedication to learning, effort in pursuit of knowledge and passion for achievement are true examples of the Forsyth County tradition.”

This year’s competition began in October 2014 when more than 1.5 million juniors in some 22,000 high schools took the PSAT or NMSQT, which served as an initial screen of program entrants, according to the program.

Last fall, the about 16,000 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.

About 15,000 students who met academic standards and other requirements were named as finalists earlier this year.

All 21 semifinalists in Forsyth County Schools were also named finalists.

About 7,500 Merit Scholars were chosen from the pool of finalists to receive one of three scholarships.

The National Merit $2,500 Scholarship will be awarded to 2,500 seniors who demonstrate the “strongest combination of accomplishments, skills and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

The rubric included academic record, standardized test scores, contributions and leadership in school and community activities, an essay and a recommendation.

Following are the graduating seniors from Forsyth County who received the $2,500 scholarship and their probable career field:
• Anirudh Bikmal, South Forsyth High, biomedical engineering
• Alexander G. Grove, Forsyth Central High, engineering
• Ji Baek, Lambert High, business
• Suyoung Baek, Lambert, law
• Savannah D. Carnahan, South, chemistry
• Nina P. Reddy, Lambert, undecided

More than 1,000 seniors won a corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarship after meeting criteria determined by the sponsor.

Corporate sponsors award scholarships to National Merit finalists who are children of their employees, who are residents of communities served by the company or who plan to pursue college majors or careers the sponsor wants to encourage.

Most of these awards are renewable for up to four years of undergraduate study and provide annual stipends between $500 and $10,000 a year. Some provide a single payment between $2,500 and $5,000.

Following are the local seniors who received a corporate-sponsored scholarship:
• Charu S. Thomas, West Forsyth High, industrial engineering, McKesson Corporation scholarship
• Lily B. Ge, Lambert, undecided, McKesson Corporation scholarship

About 4,000 finalists won a college-sponsored scholarship.

Colleges and universities award between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at their institution.

Following are the seniors who attended Forsyth County schools or who live in the county who won a college-sponsored scholarship:
• James L. Ballard, Central, pathology, University of Georgia scholarship
• Ashley M. Catanzarite, Veritas Classical Schools in Alpharetta, neonatology, Vanderbilt University scholarship
• Seri Ryu, South, biology, University of Georgia scholarship.