Published : Tuesday, May 14, 2019 | 6:25 PM
Eleven students who are either Pasadena residents or go to schools in Pasadena have been selected as winners in this year’s National Merit Scholarships, which provides $2,500 in scholarship money that may be used at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university.
The Pasadena students are among over 300 California seniors who won the awards, according to a Pasadena Patch report Monday. The winners were chosen from a pool of more than 15,000 finalists in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program.
The 11 new National Merit scholars are Erica M. De Guzman, from Maranatha High School; Harper R. Oreck, from Polytechnic School; Jerry R. Bronkar, John Marshall Fundamental School; Ryan M. Huntley, Flintridge Preparatory School in La Canada Flintridge; Leslie S. Ledah, Flintridge Preparatory School; Elizabeth Maechling, Polytechnic School; Desmond V. Mantle, Polytechnic School; Bavan P. Rajan, Flintridge Preparatory School; Justin Wang, Oakwood School in North Hollywood; Louise Deser Siskel, Sequoyah School; and Eli H. P. Grossman, Polytechnic School.
This year’s National Merit Scholarship Program began in October 2017 when over 1.6 million juniors in approximately 22,000 high schools took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants.
Scholarship recipients are selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors that look at the applicants’ academic records, their contributions and leadership in school and community activities, and their scores from the standardized tests.
The finalists were required to write an essay, and were recommended by a high school official.
Last fall, the highest-scoring participants in each state, representing less than one percent of the nation’s high school seniors, were named semifinalists on a state-representational basis. Only these 16,000 semifinalists were allowed to continue in the competition.
The National Merit Scholarship Program is conducted by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), a nonprofit corporation that operates without government assistance.
The majority of scholarships offered each year are underwritten by approximately 400 independent corporate and college sponsors that share NMSC’s goals of honoring scholastically talented youth and encouraging academic excellence at all levels of education.