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Collierville well represented in national scholarship program

More than a dozen local students recently joined the ranks of the nation’s top students as the National Merit Scholarship Program named its semi-finalists last week.

A whopping 10 Collierville High School students made the cut, including; Nicholas Hayes, Yumin Lee, Richard Li, Michael Linder, Kaitlyn Linney, Sebastian Mobo, Akaash Padmanabha, Jefferson Wang, Maia Woodard and Jeffrey Yu.

Five students from Houston High School made the prestigious list, including; Lilly He, Mohammed Hyder, Adam Kim, Jonathan Wang and Vincent Wang.

Representing Germantown High School as a semi-finalist is Elizabeth Dang.

Among local private schools, Briarcrest Christian had the most students.

Annie Barber, Rachel Collins, Lilac Ding, Matthew Stuart and Barrett Tillman were all named semifinalists.

Catherine Crowe, Alyssa Denegri and Isabelle Verret were announced as semi-finalists from St. Benedict at Auburndale.

Representing ECS is Hadassah Betapudi.

These are among the top 1 percent of students finishing as semi-finalists in the 63rd annual National Merit Scholarship Program. They have the opportunity to advance in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships.

Finalists are announced in the spring.

These students are all AP and Honors students in a rigorous course of study.

Sharon Masterson, director of Communications at St. Benedict, said Crowe, Denegri and Verret each hold leadership positions in clubs and multiple honor societies and extend themselves in service to the community.

Crowe is from Germantown and is a gifted pianist, auditioning in multiple events throughout her high school career. She has achieved the AP Scholar with Distinction and scored a 35 on the ACT.

A Collierville native, Denegri has been a member of the Lady Eagles basketball team for four years and is an AP Scholar. She also scored a 33 on the ACT.

Verret, also from Collierville, has been recognized for the extraordinary feat of scoring perfect scores on both the ACT (36) and the SAT (1600). She is an AP Scholar with Distinction and a member of the cross country team.

“We are extremely proud of these students for what they have done throughout their time at SBA, not only for themselves, but for the school as a whole,” said St. Benedict Principal Sondra Morris. “They have contributed their leadership, integrity and time. We will surely miss them upon graduation, but their legacy will provide a valuable witness to other Eagles for many years.”

About 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2016 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test last fall.

The nationwide pool of semi-finalists includes the highest scoring entrants in each state. These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for scholarships worth more than $32 million.

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