CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Thirteen West Virginia high school students have been named distinguished high school seniors and each awarded $2,500 National Merit Scholarships. The 2011 winners were chosen from about 15,000 students, who were named finalists, less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors.
Winners are Justin L. Rock, Buckhannon-Upshur High School, Upshur County; Chelsea M. Harris and Jennifer N. Head, Charleston Catholic High School, Kanawha County; David Tanner Floyd, Liberty High School, Harrison County; Alex R. Ritter, Elkins High School, Randolph County; Deirdre R. Tobin, Fairmont Senior High School, Marion County; Dilum P. Aluthge and Emily M. Damron, Huntington High School, Cabell County; Sean N. Pike, Hedgesville High School, Berkeley County; Tommy Yinhe Liu, Morgantown High School, Monongalia County; Cody T. Eddy, Tyler Consolidated High School, Tyler County; Tyler P. Morrison and Henry Hanrui Wang, Parkersburg High School, Wood County; and Elizabeth A. Cuevas, Armand Hammer United World College, N.M., Jefferson County.
Students enter the competition by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which serves as a screen of program entrants. The pool of semifinalists includes the highest scoring entrants in each state. The number of semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.
To become a finalist, a student must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier qualifying test performance on the PSAT/NMSQT. The student, along with a school official, must submit a detailed scholarship application that includes the student’s self-descriptive essay and information about his/her participation and leadership in school and community activities and a recommendation from a high school official.
For more information about the National Merit Scholarship Program, visit www.nationalmerit.org, or contact the West Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699.
Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.