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Scholarships awarded to three Gwinnett students

Three Gwinnett County Public Schools students have received college financial assistance from a corporation, as they were recently named National Corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship winners by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

The three seniors from Collins Hill High and Norcross High are part of a group of 1,000 students nationwide selected as recipients of the national honor.

This year's winners are:

· Jerry Fong of Norcross High, National Merit Accenture Scholarship

· Adam C. Kellar of Collins Hill High, National Merit Southern Company Scholarship

· Rebecca Leo of Norcross High, National Merit McKesson Scholarship

These students were selected from a pool of finalists in the 2009 National Merit Scholarship Program who met the criteria of their scholarship sponsors. Corporate organizations generally provide awards for finalists who are children of their employees, residents of communities the company serves, or have plans to pursue majors or careers the grantor wishes to encourage. About 200 companies, foundations, and other business organizations finance these scholarships.

Most of the awards are renewable for up to four years of college undergraduate study and provide annual stipends that range from $500 to $10,000 per year.

More than 1.5 million students entered the competition last school year as juniors by taking the 2007 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as the initial screening for program entrants. As the highest scoring entrants in each state, these academically talented students were then invited to apply for a finalist spot. That level was determined by looking at the student's academic record throughout high school, an endorsement or recommendation by the school principal, and a self-descriptive essay and information about their participation and leadership in school and community activities.

The scholarship recipients can use their award at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university of their choice.

Hundreds visit

Taste of Berkmar

Hundreds of people visited Berkmar High School last month for the sixth annual Taste of Berkmar and fifth annual Berkmar Jazz Festival and Car Show.

For $10, participants received 10 tickets to sample fares from several area restaurants, including Baradari Catering and Banquet, Carino's Italian Grill, Joes to Goes, and Little Gardens. The Tres Leches cake from Taqueria Los Hermanos was one of the most popular items.

The Jazz Festival featured free performances from the Berkmar High School Jazz Band and Choir, Jazz Strings Orchestra and Jazz Band. The Jazz Guardians Army Big Band from Fort McPherson headlined the entertainment, and principal Ken Johnson played with his group, The Large Principal Quartet featuring Chris Enghauser.

The event was a fund-raiser for the school's fine arts programs.

Heather Darenberg writes about education. Good News From Schools appears in the Sunday edition of the Gwinnett Daily Post. For more good news, visit www.gwinnettdailypost.com on Monday.