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Posted on Sun, Sep 25, 2011 : 2:34 p.m.

Area high school seniors named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists

By Julie Baker

High school students from Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Dexter and Saline were named semifinalists in the 57th annual National Merit Scholarship Program, the program announced recently.

Seventy-one students from Ann Arbor district high schools are semifinalists, as well as one Chelsea student, five Dexter students and fourteen Saline students.

About 16,000 high school seniors across the country are semifinalists for 8,300 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $34 million offered next spring, according to a news release.

About 90 percent of semifinalists are expected to reach finalist standing, which will be announced in February. From there, about half will be named 2012 National Merit Scholarship winners, to be announced beginning in April.

Liz Margolis, director of communications for the Ann Arbor district, says the schools are known for achievement, and the number of semifinalists is consistently high.

"This demonstrates that we have many high-achieving students in our district. We're proud of them," she said. "Every year we have students who qualify."

To become a finalist, a semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the high school principal, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the PSAT, the qualifying test the students took when they were juniors.

John Rothchild, whose daughter, Julia, is a Pioneer High School senior and semifinalist said he expects colleges will look at her semifinalist designation and see confirmation that she excels in academics.

"I would expect Ann Arbor to do well in this area," he said. "The public school system has several features in place that encourage students that are academically oriented."

National Merit Scholarship semifinalists include: Ann Arbor

Community High School: Austin, Murphy C.; DeVarti, Julia; Hughes, Emma F.; Lakshmanan, Nikila; Sorscher, Nicholas J.

Greenhills School: Anderson, Hanna S.; Fligiel, Matthew J.; Owyang, Christopher C.; Selwa, Katherine E.; Sloan, Nathaniel G.; Szocik, Michael A.; Thompson, Marissa E.

Huron High School: Chai, Jing; Chang, Amy; Chang, Emily; Chen, Oscar; Daniels, Charles; Eder, Nora C.; Hassan, Alexander T.; Huntzicker, Kathleen B.; Ji, Lena M.; Kuklev, Andrey D.; Lee, Jinwoo; Mei, Christine; Montgomery, Ian C.; Pontius, Margot Y.; Radant, Andrew D.; Rahmani, Samantha E.; Shen, Michael J.; Toader, Andrew C.; Toner, Stephen R., Wang, Jenny; Wang, Jiaxin; Wei, Yunhan; Wu, Joshua H.; Zha, Rujia; Zhao, Rita Y.; Zhou, Jonathan L.

Pioneer High School: Bilich, Rebecca W.; Buchmueller, Sophie H.; Chen, Julia H.; Fan, Tian Xu; Geronimus, Charles I.; Huang, Daniel; Huerta, Skye; Li, Anji; Lutz, Jamie C.; Nees, Clara C.; Orr, Thomas J.; Papaefthymiou, Konstantinos; Pilutti, Jackson F.; Rafaelian, Jean C.; Rothchild, Julia H.; Stevens, Caleb D.; Sunstein, Leon; Tang, Aoxue; Wan, Sherry X.; Wu, Qiong; Zhang, Kevin Y.

Father Gabriel Richard High School: Fons, Joshua V.

Skyline High School: Ames, Jonathan M., Chen, Grace E.; Choi, Jungje; Jue-Wong, Heather M.; Jue-Wong, Jonathan M.; Kenny, Timothy M.; Kuo, Frederick; McLaughlin, Cameron D.; Meiller, Jordan; Narayanan, Shruthi; Trudeau, Emily M.


Chelsea High School: Patton, Daniel


Dexter High School: Brooks, Daniel J.; Herman-Hilker, Trevor N.; Kipke, Jasmine P.; Read, Amy R.; Thompson, Connor P.


Saline High School: Burns, Tate K.; Byrnes, Hayley A.; Chen, Andrew; Ellis, Gabriel Z.; Farrand, Allison M.; Galura, Genevra I.; Harmon, Heather A.; Hogikyan, Julia C.; Jablonski, Emily E.; Mukerjee, Aaron M.; Parkinson, Madeline L.; Prisby, Julia M.; Rodriguez, Alec B.; Winsor, Karl G.



Tue, Sep 27, 2011 : 10:55 a.m.

The complete list for the State of Michigan as a whole is found here. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>. In response to Oldtimer3, the reason Dundee, etc., isn't listed in the article is that there are no semifinalists from those towns. The interesting thing to note is how much better Ann Arbor does than any other public school district in the State, other than Troy H.S. and the magnet International School. If we were going to have a true discussion about public education we would try to identify the reasons why Ann Arbor produces so many more top students and implement what we find elsewhere in the State. Also noteworthy is the fact that the private schools in Ann Arbor do worse on this measure than the private schools in the Detroit suburbs; the reason this is true is that the public schools still &quot;work&quot; in Ann Arbor. Congratulations are due not only to the students, but to the teachers at these high schools who provide challenging envronments for kids who are self-motivated and to the school administrators who are flexible enough to allow students who have completed high school requirements to create as many different learning opportunities for themselves as they can conceive of through the community resource program and through dual college enrollment.

Patrick Leonard

Tue, Sep 27, 2011 : 2:06 a.m.

Congratulations to all of the semifinalist and teachers for reaching this level of academic excellence. I'm so proud that our community schools continue to have significant representation in the National Merit Scholarship Program. I wish all of the finalists the best of luck with their future endeavors!


Mon, Sep 26, 2011 : 2:40 p.m.

Why isn't Manchester, Milan or Dundee listed?

Ahmar Iqbal

Mon, Sep 26, 2011 : 11:07 a.m.

This is great. Congratulations to all the students, parents and teachers for their effort. Moreover, it reflects positively that our county has so many respected schools and is a wonderful place for people to raise families, establish their careers or businesses. We need to celebrate with the students, their parents and teachers and thank them for helping make our region attractive to potential families to call home. Best wishes to all the finalists.


Mon, Sep 26, 2011 : 2:02 a.m.

I am very proud

Ashok Gopalakrishnan

Sun, Sep 25, 2011 : 10:59 p.m.

Congratulations and good luck to all of you!!


Sun, Sep 25, 2011 : 8:56 p.m.

Congratulations to all of the students here!


Sun, Sep 25, 2011 : 7:26 p.m.

Congratulations to these students and their teachers!