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NM seniors named semifinalists

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — One hundred New Mexico high school seniors have been named semifinalists in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program, joining 16,000 students from across the country competing for $32 million in scholarships.

“To be recognized as a National Merit semifinalist is a huge honor for students because it represents years of hard work and dedication to learning,” said Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent Raquel Reedy in a news release. “Congratulations to this fine group of students. We are proud of your accomplishment and expect great things from you in the future.”

To qualify as a semifinalist, students earned top scores on the 2016 preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test that they took as juniors. About 1.6 million students in more than 22,000 high schools took the exam last fall.

The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.

The state’s largest school district, APS, landed 23 students on the list.

They are: Gage Boman and Michael Kiesling, Cibola High School; Benjamin Cochran, Del Norte High School; Maria Anna Cheshire, Caroline Pineda, Nicolas Savignon and Todd Snow, Eldorado High School; Thomas Brown, Gabriel Cuneo, Kaan Dokmeci, Matthew Eck, Emma Hazard, Akshay Jain, Abigail Jones, Nicholas Justice, Brandon Limary, Siddharth Namachivayam, Daniel Ndibongo, Megan Tran and Elizabeth Vaughan, all from La Cueva High School; Emily Clarke from Manzano High School; Naomi Rankin and Matthew Sanchez from Volcano Vista High School.

Albuquerque Academy landed 26 students — the most by far from any one school — on the list. They are Carter T. Abdallah, Harrison Bay, Catherine A. Buehler, Graham P. Eberhardt, Colin M. Finnegan, Isabel O. Gallegos, Lillie Y. Guo, Julia L. Ho, Benjamin D. Hwang, Rachel E. Jones, Akhil S. Kholwadwala, Anokhi S. Kholwadwala, Margaret Lee, Andrew S. Manning, Savannah L. Martin, Nicolas X. Martinez, Victor H. Oliva, Julia P. Potter, Sarah Skillman, Benjamin P. Sullivan, Maya N. Taylor, Ann A. Thompson, Karl B. Topf, Jeremy J. Wesevich, Andrew H. Xavier, Andy Zhang.

Other semifinalists and their schools are: John Holmquist, Alamogordo High School; Casey V. Chong and Jordan R. Zayas from the Albuquerque Institute for Mathematics and Science; John B. Bennett from Cottonwood Classical Prep; Rachel C. Penner and Carter D. Thompson, Southwest Secondary Learning Center; Daniel J. Stotzer, St. Pius High School; Alexandra K. Mauritsen, Artesia High School; Brandon T. McReynolds, Aztec High School; Shayna L. Mallett, Jemez Springs Home School; Charlotte Stalker, Arrowhead Park Early College High School in Las Cruces; Kira N. Cunniff and Connor Hooley from Centennial High School in Las Cruces; Sydnie L. Fossberg, Mayfield High School in Las Cruces; Garrett L. White, Mesilla Valley Christian Schools; Carson J. Miller, William B. Mlekush and Noah R. Taylor, Armand Hammer United World College in Las Vegas, N.M.; Cameron Art, Rachel K. Frankle, David W. Gao, Radhika Iyer, Matilde Jacobson, Sophia Li, Phillip I. Martin, Prescott K. Moore, Kyler E. Parkinson, Donald Poston, Neelima Prasad, Benjamin W. Rees, Sarah M. Russell, Sara A. Shiina, Sarah J. Shipley, Olivia A. Taylor, Miriam E. Wallstrom, Los Alamos High School; Jordan E. Minke and Dante Mueller, V. Sue Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho; Reilly J. Know, Alexander Linsday and Kristin M. Strosnider, Rio Rancho High School; Matthew C. Fay, The Ask Academy; Ava C. McCombs and Benjamin T. Sheffer, Santa Fe Academy for Technology and the Classics; Rowan M. Cahill and Jonathon I. Najman, Santa Fe High School; Nathan G. Hayes-Rich, Van E. Leeson, Benton J. Lehman, Joseph S. Murray, Landon R. Tafoya, Santa Fe Prep; Zachary Benton, Taos Academy.

To become a finalist, students must submit a detailed scholarship application in which they provide information about their academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstration of leadership abilities, employment and honors and awards. Finalists are announced in February.

Those students will compete for one of three merit scholarships:

• $2,500 National Merit Scholarship (2,500 awarded nationally)

• Corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship Award (about 1,000 awarded by about 230 corporations and businesses nationally)

• College-sponsored Merit Scholarship (awarded by about 190 colleges and universities).

Last year, New Mexico produced 89 National Merit Semifinalists.

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