Spear named finalist in 2012 National Merit Scholarship Program

Skaneateles High School senior Kaitlin Spear has been named a National Merit Finalist in the 2012 National Merit Scholarship Program.

Spear, along with the other finalists, now has an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,300 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $34 million that will be offered this spring.

About 1.5 million juniors in some 22,000 high schools entered the 2012 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2010 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The nationwide pool of finalists, which represents less than one percent of US high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.

Spear was the only 2012 applicant from the entire Skaneateles district chosen as a semi-finalist in the program last September. 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 qualifying test.

All winners of Merit Scholarship awards are chosen from the finalist group, based on their abilities, skills, and accomplishments. A variety of information is used for evaluation: the finalist's academic record, information about the school's curricula and grading system, two sets of test scores, the high school official's written recommendation, information about the student's activities and leadership, and the finalist's own essay.

Scholarship awards will be announced by the NMSP in mid-April and May.

Skaneateles senior Peter Cihon was named a commended student in the same program. Although commended students do not continue in the competition for National Merit Scholarships, some of these students do become candidates for Special Scholarships sponsored by corporations and businesses.

The National Merit Scholarship Program was established in 1955 to honor the nation’s scholastic champions and to encourage the pursuit of academic excellence.

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