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Posted on Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 5:50 a.m.

Semifinalists announced in 2013 National Merit Scholarship Competition

By Danielle Arndt

Ninety seniors from Ann Arbor public and private, Chelsea, Dexter, Manchester and Saline schools were named semifinalists in the 58th annual National Merit Scholarship Competition.

Each year, less than 1 percent of high school seniors earn the honor of the title — and a shot at $32 million in college scholarship opportunities.

Students enter the National Merit Scholarship Program contest by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

To become a finalist and have access to nearly 8,300 different scholarships, the semifinalist and his or her high school must submit a detailed application providing the semifinalist's academic record, in-school and community activities, leadership abilities and honors and awards received. The semifinalist also must write an essay and earn SAT scores that confirm the student's earlier performance on his or her qualifying test, according to a media release announcing the semifinalists.

Three categories of scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2013. The finalists will be announced shortly thereafter and scholarship winners will be announced starting in April and concluding in July.

At Ann Arbor Public Schools' four primary high schools, 61 students were named semifinalists this year. Seventy-one AAPS students were given the title in the 2012 National Merit competition.

All 90 high school senior semifinalists from Washtenaw County are listed below.

Ann Arbor Community High School

Leah Awkward-Rich
Tamar Cohen
Molly Kraus-Steinmetz
Harald Miller
Kelsey Moran
Rebecca Shipan
Acer Xu

Ann Arbor Huron High School

Eric Armbruster
Jungsoo Chang
Keeley Erhardt
Jiaao Hou
Deniz Karabakal
Linda Liu
George Lu
Reid McCallister
Caroline Nikolaidis
Cyrus Nikolaidis
Valerie Peng
Lilia Popova
Mary Taylor
Luke Thompson-Kolar
Zibq Zou

Ann Arbor Pioneer High School

Aaron Baum
Samuel Blackburn
Boris Burman
Oscar Cojocariu
Ruby Emberling
Zachary Fogel
Azba Gurm
Clare Higgins
Elizabeth Hines
Joshua Kaplan
Giancarlo Latta
Siyan Li
Yiran Liu
Danny Luan
Ananya Mayukha
Jordan McKay
Daniel Rothchild
Akanksha Sahay
Siddhartha Sarkar
Alyssa Skelton
Yupeng Wang
Enze Xing
Gabrielle Zacks

Ann Arbor Skyline High School

Madeleine Boisvert
Emma Borjigin-Wang
Ying Cai
Arun Datta
Karen Duan
Daniel Fendrick
Caroline Gallagher
Shoham Geva
Alexander Kaldjian
Eric Larson
Hannah Lee
Mingquan Ma
Alexander Pepin-Bean
Kaavya Puttagunta
Patrick Walker
Edith Zhang

Chelsea High School

Kennedy Aldrich

Dexter High School

Sarah Bell
Hayley Bohn
Jillianne Hook

Early College Alliance at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti

Shannon Cahalan

Father Gabriel Richard High School in Ann Arbor

Ruth Blower
Marie Cirenza
Nicole Dirksen
Evan D'Silva
Gabrielle Gaeta
Joseph Sorenson

Greenhills School in Ann Arbor

David Barbehenn
Emily Chung
Ashwin Fujii
Allison Hogikyan
Jonathan Liu
Lalitha Ramaswamy
Mithun Saha
Matteo Todisco
Davis Vorva

Manchester High School

Nathan Korth

Rudolf Steiner School in Ann Arbor

Ruby An

Saline High School

Louisa Antonelli
Allison Collins
James Corcoran
Kelly Hall
Jessica Lipa
Ryan Whitfield
Patrick Zetterholm

Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at



Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 9:30 p.m.

A2Reality, surely you do not wish to address the achievement gap by disparaging high achievement on the part of those willing and able to attain it!


Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 5:16 p.m.

These kids aren't helping the achievement gap!!! (But, congratulations to them.)

Angry Moderate

Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 10:40 p.m.

It's not funny, it's serious. The achievements of these highly successful students earn their schools the honor of being placed on the awful-sounding "Focus Schools" list.


Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 6:09 p.m.

yep - let's hear it for one more achievement gap joke. Regardless of what side you're on, it's just not funny.


Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 11:58 a.m.

Congratulations, everyone. Nice job.