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Good News From Schools: Gwinnett students up for $35 million in scholarships

Nearly 50 Gwinnett County Public Schools students are on their way to earning one of the nation's most prestigious scholarships.

The high school seniors from 11 high schools were recently named semifinalists for the National Merit Scholarship Program, earning the status based on their scores on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

The seniors are among approximately 16,000 semifinalists nationwide competing for some 8,200 National Merit scholarships, worth more than $35 million. The scholarships will be awarded next spring.

These academically talented students will now continue in the competition by taking the next step as finalists. That level is determined by looking at the student's outstanding academic record throughout high school, an endorsement or recommendation by the school principal and SAT scores that confirm the student's earlier qualifying test performance. Semifinalists must submit a detailed scholarship application, which includes a self-descriptive essay and information about their participation and leadership in school and community activities.

Five Forks gets charitable

Five Forks Middle School has increased its focus on the environment and recycling, and the proceeds from one project will benefit the Dream House for Medically Fragile Children.

The program, "Kids Helping Kids Survive to Thrive," is also a service project and competition between the sixth, seventh and eighth grades. Students are recycling the pop tabs from aluminum cans, and the proceeds made from recycling the tabs through Dec. 12 will be given to the Dream House.

Each Wednesday, the children are updated on their recycling progress during the "Green Scene," a weekly environmental program encouraging the various recycling efforts at the school.

For more information about the Dream House, visit www.dreamhouseforkids.org.

Heather Darenberg writes about education. Good News From Schools appears in the Sunday edition of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

SideBar: Scholarship Semifinalists

The 2009 National Merit semifinalists are:

· James Alin, Norcross High

· Jeffrey D. Angell, North Gwinnett High

· Henry J. Avery, Brookwood High

· Emily K. Baker, Mill Creek High

· Caroline E. Bass, Parkview High

· Grayson W. Baum, North Gwinnett High

· Glenn R. Branscomb, Parkview High

· Emily R. Breeding, Peachtree Ridge High

· Amanda P. Cameron, Brookwood High

· Frank K. Chang, Brookwood High

· Daniel L. Cook, Collins Hill High

· Siddhartha "Deep" Datta Roy, Parkview High

· Mark L. Dunn, Brookwood High

· Emily A. Fitzgerald, Parkview High

· Jerry Fong, Norcross High

· Alexandra K. Gaigelas, Norcross High

· Ryan M. Gasaway, Mill Creek High

· David L. Hedrick, Parkview High

· Lindsay M. Howard, Grayson High

· Matthew J. Howard, Norcross High

· Brian D. Hysell, Duluth High

· Karen J. Jang, Brookwood High

· Angela Kamino, Brookwood High

· Nicholas R. Keith, Peachtree Ridge High

· Adam C. Kellar, Collins Hill High

· Philla Kim, Brookwood High

· Thomas W. King, Peachtree Ridge High

· Kelly A. Knowles, Norcross High

· Jason K. Lai, Norcross High

· Sarah O. Langley, Peachtree Ridge High

· Rebecca J. Leo, Norcross High

· Xinyi Li, Duluth High

· Clayton M. Mersmann, South Gwinnett High

· Patrick G. Morton, North Gwinnett High

· Zachary S. Olson, Parkview High

· Yanfeng R. Ou, Duluth High

· Nancy R. Ouyang, Peachtree Ridge High

· Timothy M. Philip, Parkview High

· Melissa C. Plyler, Norcross High

· Pranav Ramesh, Parkview High

· Katelyn L. Randall, Parkview High

· Courtney G. Reed, Parkview High

· Hope H. Rogers, Parkview High

· Eric J. Sawyer, Brookwood High

· Arvind Sekar, Brookwood High

· Robert L. Stone, Central Gwinnett High

· Diandian Tang, Parkview High

· Vamsi K. Tata, Brookwood High