Columbia boasts 18 National Merit semifinalists

Wednesday, September 14, 2011 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:04 a.m. CDT, Thursday, September 15, 2011

COLUMBIA — Eighteen Columbia high school students were included on the National Merit Scholarship Corporation list of potential scholarship recipients announced Wednesday.

The students, seniors from Christian Fellowship School, Hickman High School and Rock Bridge High School, have been named as semifinalists in the 2012 National Merit Scholarship Program.

They will now compete with about 16,000 others from across the U.S. for scholarships totaling more than $34 million.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation is a nonprofit organization that has offered annual scholarship opportunities for high school seniors since 1955. Approximately 1.5 million juniors sat for the preliminary SAT last year, and those who scored highest in their state achieved semifinalist standing.

Rock Bridge High School produced 12 semifinalists, a number which principal Mark Maus attributes to the “great students here who work really hard and great teachers who would do anything for them.”

Less than 1 percent of high school seniors nationwide make up the exclusive group announced today, with about 15,000 expected to advance to the final stage in February.

To attain finalist standing, the students must secure an endorsement from their school’s principal, as well as a qualifying preliminary SAT score.

The scholarship corporation noted Tuesday that the qualifying score for semifinalist standing in Missouri has risen from last year, from 210 to 213.

Scott Williams, principal of Christian Fellowship School, said Tuesday, “I am proud of our students and look forward to seeing what opportunities this will open for them.”


DAVID H. HICKMAN HIGH SCHOOL: Carter A. Datz, Jeanna E. Hoffman, Daniel W. Hwang, Annemarie K. Van Doren, Avery E. Wagner.

ROCK BRIDGE HIGH SCHOOL: Christian M. Ackmann, David P. Berry, Riaz A. Helfer, Katherine T. Hobbs, Elena N. Horvit, Avantika Khatri, Amy P. Scott, Nicholas Sun, Methma H. Udawatta, Christina H. Wang, Walter Z. Wang, Angela F. Zhang.

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