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DB and Walnut High Students Named National Merit Semifinalists

More than 30 seniors from the two high schools scored in the top 1.5 percent on Preliminary SAT tests they took last spring.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation has announced that more than 30 Diamond Bar and Walnut High School seniors are among the elite group of 2013 National Merit Semifinalists.

These academically talented students scored in the top 1.5 percent on Preliminary SAT (PSAT) tests they took last spring.

About 1.5 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2011 PSAT/ National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test that served as an initial screen of program entrants.

The 16,000 Semifinalists in the 58th annual program now have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,300 National Merit Scholarships worth more the $32 million that will be offered next spring.

The following students were named National Merit Semifinalists:

Diamond Bar High School: Deedee Chao, Christopher Chen, Ching Yan Joey Choi, Stephanie Chow, Jordan Dang, Meagan He, Favian Ho, Justin Kim, Casey Lam, Alice Lee, Chan Woong Chris Park, Jonathan Phan, Michael Sun, Andrea Tam, Jonathan Tau, Willa Wang, and JoyceYin.

Additionally, DBHS senior Udordiri Okwandu attained a qualifying score on the 2011 PSAT and is among the 1,600 Black American students designated as Semifinalists in the 2013 National Achievement Scholarship Program. Ukwandu will now have an opportunity to continue in the competition for approximately 800 Achievement Scholarship® awards worth more than $2.5 million that will be offered nextspring.

Walnut High School: Kaelan Chan, Connie Chen, Mira Chiu, Michael Dai, Avika Dua, Grant Hoh, Jessica Kwok, Roger Liang, Nahlee Lin, Karen Ou, Albert Tang, Julius Yee, Mason Yu, and Kingswell Zhou.

Additionally WHS seniors Mauricio Madrigal Avina and Heidi Shelton have been named National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholars. The NHRP was initiated in 1983 to identify outstanding Hispanic/Latino high school students. This year, the NHRP is recognizing about 5,000 Hispanic/Latino students selected from a pool ofover 253,000 who took the 2011 PSAT/NMSQT.

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship® award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition.  To become a Finalist, the Semifinalist and their high school must submit a detailed scholarship application in which they provide informationabout the Semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, and honors and awards received.

A Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn sat scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test. From the approximately 16,000 Semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level and in February they will be notified of this designation.

All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of Finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.

--Walnut Unified School District

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