Northwest News

South Sound students win National Merit Scholarships

It’s college scholarship season, and six South Sound teens have obtained some of the most competitive and prestigious awards available to high school seniors: Recognition from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

“These are students who go above and beyond,” said Chris Woods, principal of Capital High School in Olympia. “These are students who excel way beyond the classroom.”

Matt Grant, principal of Olympia High School, agrees. He said the National Merit Scholars at his school are involved in several extracurricular programs, including Knowledge Bowl, robotics, math club and the theater tech crew.

“They’re involved in their community, and they’re involved in their school community,” Grant said. “We think very highly of them. We’re proud of them.”

Less than 1 percent of seniors in the United States qualify each year for the rigorous academic competition with high scores on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Nine local students were among the 16,000 semi-finalists announced last fall, and so far, six have received awards based on their test scores, school recommendation, essay and application.

By the end of the competition, about 7,600 students across the nation will receive scholarships totaling about $34 million. The nonprofit expects to announce its final list of award winners July 13, according to a news release.

Here are the names of the local winners that were released by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation in May.

• Ian Culhane, Olympia High School, recipient of a National Merit $2,500 Scholarship.



• Adriana Elwood, Olympia High School, recipient of a National Merit $2,500 Scholarship.



• Ernest Gu, Olympia High School, recipient of National Merit $2,500 Scholarship.



• Addison Jeske, Pope John Paul II High School in Lacey, recipient of National Merit $2,500 Scholarship.



• James McClintock, Olympia High School, recipient of a National Merit University of Oklahoma Scholarship.



• Alexander Parr of Olympia, Coral Academy of Science in Reno, Nevada, recipient of the National Merit University of Nevada, Reno Scholarship.



• Naomi Yamamoto, Capital High School, recipient of the National Merit University of Chicago Scholarship.



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