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Posted on Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 6:14 p.m.

Saline high-schooler wins corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarship

By Danielle Arndt

A Saline High School student was added this week to the list of corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarship winners.

Ryan Whifield, who plans to pursue a career in mechanical engineering, was awarded the Eco-Drive Scholarship from the Citizen Watch Company of America, located in New Jersey.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation first announced the students who won corporate scholarships in late April. However, the award Whifield was chosen to receive became available after the initial announcement, the corporation said in a statement.

In April, three students from Ann Arbor were named corporate-sponsored winners: Alexander Kaldjian from Skyline High School, Joseph Sorenson from Father Gabriel Richard High School and Zibo Zou from Huron High School.

According to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, 1,000 high school seniors were given corporate scholarships this year that range from $500 to $10,000 per year of college. The awards are financed by about 200 companies, foundations and other businesses.

Corporate sponsors generally give scholarships to National Merit finalists who are children of employees, residents in the communities they serve or students who plan to pursue college majors or careers that the businesses wants to encourage.

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



Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 10:45 a.m.

I'm curious: why does keep including the phrase "corporate sponsored" when it mentions scholarships like the National Merit? It is a scholarship, whether it is a school scholarship or one given by company, charity, etc., does it really matter? These students have worked hard for them, and it appears that attaching this label cheapens it. I don't see you mention "athletic" scholarships. Why not just leave it at scholarship and let the student enjoy it without a label?


Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 8:04 p.m.

I find plenty of announcements about athletic scholarships. They are on the sports pages. If you don't read the sports pages, you probably will not see anything about athletic scholarships. Additionally, corporate sponsors pay for scholarships for a variety of reasons, including the advertising that comes along with it. If the name of the company stops being published along with the award, then the value drops as does the likelihood that they will continue to sponsor it. Citing the source of the money does not cheapen it at all to me. And I am sure that the student already knows who sponsored it, so I don't see how it being published would make them enjoy it any less.

Danielle Arndt

Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 3:40 p.m.

Pat, that's a fair question. Thanks for asking it so we can clear this up for other people who may have the same curiosity. We include the phase corporate-sponsored because there actually are three different categories of National Merit Scholarship Corporation awards: corporate-sponsored, college-sponsored and the National Merit Scholarship award. The NMSC announces the winners in three or four batches usually, and the announcements are broken up throughout April, May and July. Here are the previous stories on the other category winners: and We feel it is important to identify which award the students have won. There is one final announcement of college-sponsored award winners expected to be coming around July 15, according to the NMSC.