Shelby County students grab academic honors

Published 2:19 pm Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The academic prowess of nine Shelby County students recently positioned them as finalists for the National Merit Scholarship Program.

The following students: Nathan Coleman and Mieke Groothuizen of Chelsea High;

Michael Henry, Samantha Lin, Yueqi Peng and Joy Underwood of Oak Mountain High;

Will English of Pelham High; and Shannon Edsall and Velislav Stamenov of Thompson High are now in the running for a portion of the more than $35 million available.

To become a National Merit Finalist, students must have endorsement from their high school principal, an outstanding academic record and outstanding SAT scores, submission of a self–descriptive essay and an active role in leadership and community activities. The first round of scholarships will be announced in April.

Justin Bond of Thompson High School was also recently named a National Achievement Scholar finalist. This program was established in 1964 to provide recognition for outstanding black high school students. Black students may enter both the National Achievement Program and the National Merit Program. Of more than 150,000 who apply for National Achievement Scholar recognition, only 1,300 are named as finalists.

As a finalist, Bond is now eligible for more than 700 National Achievement Scholarships that are available. Daniel Whittemore of Oak Mountain High was recently named a semi–finalist.

The following students were named National Merit Commended Finalists, which recognizes students based on their high PSAT scores. These students were Seth Denney, Ryan McElroy and Kirsten Tuggle, all from Oak Mountain High; Nicholas Clemmons, Christopher Durfeld and Zachary Pritchard, all from Pelham High; and Brenna Williams from Thompson High.