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Hillsborough’s 60 Merit Scholar semifinalists are most in Florida


Published:   |   Updated: September 18, 2013 at 05:57 PM

Sixty Hillsborough County students are among 16,000 National Merit Scholar semifinalists.

Hillsborough County Public School, the third-largest school district in the state, is leading Florida in the number of semifinalists for the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program.

Fourteen semifinalists attend Pinellas County schools and seven attend Pasco County schools.

Semifinalists are now eligible to compete for one of 8,000 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $35 million.

In Hillsborough, the school with the most semifinalists is King High, with 15 students earning the designation. Strawberry Crest High School has 14 semifinalists.

“Here in Hillsborough we have a strong emphasis on preparing students to be college or career ready,” Hillsborough Schools Superintendent MaryEllen Elia said. “Our teachers are doing a great job preparing students for rigorous courses and the students are rising to the challenge.”

Semifinalists are those with the highest scores on the preliminary SAT/National Merit qualifying test, who also meet program requirements.

Semifinalists must submit a detailed application that includes their academic record through high school, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities and honors and awards.

The student must also be endorsed and recommended by a high-school official, write an essay and earn an SAT score that confirms the earlier performance on the qualifying test.

Hillsborough semifinalists are:

Duncan M. Fisher, Brent J. Hovan, Durant High School, Plant City; Gabrielle E. Madden, Emily Rodriguez, Carly E. Stagg, Academy of the Holy Names, Tampa; Morgan E. Brazel, Sarah M. Cohen, Ryan D. Divers, Jessica N. Forman, Max H. Franzblau, Emily M. Harwell, David B. Milliken, Berkeley Preparatory School, Tampa.

Also, Kevin D. Coxon, Howard W. Blake High School, Tampa; Jessica L. Castillo, the Cambridge School, Tampa; Rohith Ravi, Freedom High School, Tampa; Teresa Chorvat, Kelly J. Cochran, Trevor A. McCabe, Arpan Parekh, Samuel J. Russell, Elizabeth M. Tsourakis, Brittany S. Young, Aaren L. Zhu, Hillsborough High School, Tampa.

Also, Thompson Bertron, home-school student; Marc L. Dumois, Peter H. Johnson, Rhett J. Shimberg, Jacob M. Vila, Daniel G. Wilson, Jesuit High School, Tampa; Anurag R. Baddam, Akash A. Bhatia, Tyson A. Burleigh, Christopher C. Cao, Alicia K. Chen, Jia-Uei Chen, Lora R. Chizmar, Elaine L. Hou, Linda Z. Lin, Melanie W. Parrott, Leila Shafiq, Matthew Y. Shaw, Haoqing Wang, Jackie Yang, Kevin Zhou, C. Leon King High School, Tampa.

Also, Curtiss J. Maraman, Middleton High School, Tampa; Robert T. Binkowski, Plant High School, Tampa; Haley M. Stone, Stefan A. Swaans, Plant High School, Tampa; Eleanor B. Eason, John Lennon, Kainat N. Mitha, Olivia A. Moumne, Sameer E. Naik, Emily A. Vaughan, Jonathan D. Wong, T.R. Robinson High School, Tampa; Jorge J. Rodriguez, Walter L. Sickles High School, Tampa; Gregory S. Campo, Tampa Preparatory School, Tampa; Zane A. Murphy, Patrick J. Sheil, Tampa Preparatory School, Tampa; Kiana J. Outen, Wharton High School, Tampa.

Also, Jessica N. Alzamora, Matthew D. Baker, Jonathan R. Calzadilla, Robert R. Chrostowski, Brian H. Do, Kelvin D. Gibson, Yasmin Ibarra, Merinn E. Jacobs, Joshua C. Judge, Kristin M. Knotts, Vishnu A. Kulkami, Katherine A. Pryde, Natalie A. Stahr, Kayla E. Symonds, Strawberry Crest High School, Dover.

Also, Elisa A. Boesenberg, Fisher D. Curry, Marianna L. Sharp, Shawn D. Wheeler, Newsome High School, Lithia; Stephen A. Hurley, George M. Steinbrenner High School, Lutz; Trijeet A. Sethi, Riverview High School, Riverview.

Editor’s note: Some names were left out in an earlier version of this story.

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