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National Merit Scholarship Program recognizes TALH students

Six exceptional students from Lamar University’s Texas Academy of Leadership in the Humanities (TALH) have recently been recognized for their academic talents. The 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program is a competition based on academic excellence and awarded to students who are currently approaching the end of their high school career with plans for attending college as a full-time student no later than the fall semester after they graduate.

“The Texas Academy of Leadership in the Humanities is proud of the academic accomplishments of our students,” said Ted Stuberfield, TALH director. “To receive recognition for academic excellence is an honor, and to have six students recognized, four of which were commended and two noted as semifinalists by the National Merit Scholarship Program, is indicative of the intellectual prowess of our students and the academic rigor provided within the learning community at Lamar University.”

To enter and be considered for the program, students must take the PSAT, which is the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Lamar has two National Merit semifinalists:  Anna Buchele from Georgetown, and Betty Chen from Plano. They are among the 16,000 semifinalists in the 58th annual 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program. This distinction makes these high school seniors two of the highest-scoring entrants in the state of Texas.

“You take the PSAT/NMSQT and from there they pick the students in the top half of one percent,” said Chen. “That worked out to be a score of about 210-215 out of 240.”

Buchele said that after a student is named as a semifinalist they have to fill out an application, write an essay, and get their high school principal to write a letter of recommendation.

“After that process, the number of semifinalists goes from about 16,000 to about 15,000 finalists,” Chen said.

Chen and Buchele said the finalists are picked and 7,500 scholars are named. These students are eligible for National Merit Scholarship award money, which is used to pay for their schooling.  Additionally, four TALH students were named among the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program’s Commended Student list. These students include William Brewer of Beaumont, Carol Abousaab of Houston, Donald Case of Point, and Emmie Knobloch of Bowie. The four placed among the top five percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the competition.

In February, The National Merit Scholarship Program will notify the 15,000 semifinalists if they have advanced to finalist standing.