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13 National Merit Hopefuls in Class of ’13

The number of high school juniors who have qualified for consideration in the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program more than quadrupled compared to a year ago.

A lucky 13 LBHS students received an index score of 200 or above after taking the preliminary qualifying test last fall, compared with three students who made the grade the previous year. These students count among the 50,000 highest scoring test takers out of about 1.5 million participants nationwide.

National Merit will announce scholarship winners in September.

The 13 students who will be in the running include: Spencer Anderson, Tara Board, Jared Boetes, Grace Clark, Pauline Duong, Morgan Lebby, Katherine Magnuson, Anna McMurray, Alexandra Murphy, Karina Reiss, Lisa Situ, and Danielle Winson. (One student was not identified.)

“These kids are super!” commended high school principal Joanne Culverhouse.

Credit goes to the initiative of former principal Don Austin, who sought a grant from Schoolpower that would pay the fee for every junior who wanted to take the qualifying exam, said Nancy Hubbell, assistant superintendent of instructional services. As a result, more students took the test.

Taking the test goes beyond mere scholarship qualification, said Hubbell. For students, the test provides  feedback about how well prepared they are for college and helps boost scores on the all-important SAT, used in the college admissions process, she said.

The campus also gains from student test takers: the College Board provides the school with detailed analyses about student performance on each item measured, an invaluable tool for teachers as they strive to prepare students for college.

“We think this was a very successful pilot because it yields all the information we hoped it would, and we may end up with more students who are commended or recognized,” said Hubbell.

The district hopes to offer a similar opportunity for juniors this coming fall.

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