Semifinalists named for 2010 National Merit

This week, the National Merit Scholarship Corp. announced the names of about 16,000 semifinalists in the 55th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for about 8,200 National Merit Scholarships, worth more than $36 million, that will be offered in the spring. About 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship.

More than 1.5 million juniors in about 22,000 high schools entered the 2010 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2008 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, which represents less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest scoring entrants in each state.

To become a finalist, a semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the high school principal, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student's earlier performance on the qualifying test. The semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, which includes the student's essay and information about the semifinalist's participation and leadership in school and community activities.

The semifinalists from Gwinnett County are as follows:

· Michael W. Ackerman of Brookwood High

· Victoria A. Anderson of Brookwood High

· Justin P. Aspinwall of Norcross High

· James A. Bignault of Brookwood High

· Daniel B. Cates of Norcross High

· Eric C. Chen of Brookwood High

· Phillip S. Cheng of Brookwood High

· Nicholas A. Chizek of Greater Atlanta Christian School

· Uzma H. Chowdhury of Brookwood High

· Kim Chu of Parkview High

· Jonathan D. Cox of Brookwood High

· Saad S. Dayala of Berkmar High

· Frederick N. Dong of Parkview High

· Elizabeth K. Dyer of Parkview High

· Jennifer M. Giang of Parkview High

· Catherine Gu of Collins Hill High

· Sara H. Hanus of Mill Creek High

· Anisha R. Hegde of Brookwood High

· Matthew F. Hooper of Brookwood High

· Cong Hui of Parkview High

· Joowon Kwak of Brookwood High

· Jessica D. Lukasik of Grayson High

· Howard C. Martin of Greater Atlanta Christian School

· Hyung Shuk Na of Peachtree Ridge High

· Sarah R. Nagy of Collins Hill High

· Grace J. Oh of Peachtree Ridge High

· Lillian D. Otieno of Ivy Manor Preparatory Academy (a program for home educated students)

· Wade M. Phenicie of Norcross High

· Claire E. Putnam of Peachtree Ridge High

· David L. Rhodes of Parkview High

· Shelby J. Schuller of Peachtree Ridge High

· Margaret E. Smith of Parkview High

· Emily R. Summerbell of Collins Hill High

· Jennifer E. Taylor of Parkview High

· William M. Teich of Collins Hill High

· My Ngoc C. To of Parkview High

· Boru Wang of Parkview High

· Kyle W. Whitaker of Duluth High

· Lucy J. Xu of Parkview High

· Daimeng Yin of North Gwinnett High

· Seon W. Yoo of North Gwinnett High

· Steven M. Zwick of Mill Creek High

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