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PSAT scores qualify seniors for scholarship

More than 20 Gwinnett County Public Schools students were recently notified that they have been designated as semifinalists in the National Achievement Scholarship Program, making them candidates for scholarships worth some $2.6 million.

The program, founded to honor and provide scholarships to academically promising black students, annually recognizes high-performing high school seniors.

The 22 Gwinnett students represent 11 schools including Archer High, Berkmar High, Brookwood High, Collins Hill High, Dacula High, Duluth High, Grayson High, Mill Creek High, North Gwinnett High, Parkview High and Peachtree Ridge High.

This year's Gwinnett semifinalists are:

· Mfonobong K. Atakpa, Archer High

· Jazmine D. Brite, Berkmar High

· Zachery A. Crowell, Brookwood High

· Charles J. Freeman, Brookwood High

· Muna Idriss, Brookwood High

· Robert Smith, Brookwood High

· Benito J. Thompson, Brookwood High

· Taylor A. Phillips, Collins Hill High

· Brandon M. Stirrup, Dacula High

· Cameron B. Johnson, Duluth High

· Kenneth Sylvain, Duluth High

· Rachel C. Lewis, Grayson High

· Wilson I. Omesiete, Grayson High

· Blake J. Elston, Mill Creek High

· Erica S. Grimes, Mill Creek High

· Stephen J. Jarrett, Mill Creek High

· Elisia D. Plunkett, Mill Creek High

· Tempestt A. Watts, Mill Creek High

· Niara Wright, North Gwinnett High

· Zakiya M. Haji-Noor, Parkview High

· Michael S. Crooks, Peachtree Ridge High

· Alexis L. Van Eyken, Peachtree Ridge High

The high school seniors qualified for the program based on each student's high achievement on the 2008 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. More than 160,000 high school juniors from across the nation requested to be considered for the 2010 National Achievement Scholarship Program when they took the PSAT. Out of the 160,000 test-takers who asked to be considered, 1,300 were designated as semifinalists.

These academically talented students now have the opportunity to advance to the finalist level of the competition. All Achievement Scholarship winners will be selected from that finalist group on the basis of their abilities, accomplishments and potential for success in college.

To be considered for finalist status, students must fill out a detailed application, present a record of high academic performance throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the school principal, and earn SAT scores that confirm the PSAT/NMSQT performance.

The information collected about each finalist will be used in the selection of scholarship winners who will receive one of 800 Achievement Scholarship awards, all worth a total of $2.6 million.

Winners will be announced in the spring.

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