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9 Gatton Academy seniors named National Merit Semifinalists

Nine seniors at the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky at WKU have been recognized as semifinalists in the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program, an honor that potentially opens the door to college scholarship opportunities.

More than 1.5 million students entered the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2012 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Students are tested in math, critical reasoning and writing. The 16,000 Semifinalists honored are the highest-scoring students in their state and represent less than 1 percent of each state’s high school seniors.

Since the Gatton Academy’s inception in 2007, 61 Gatton Academy students have been named National Merit Semifinalists.

The 2013 Gatton Academy National Merit Semifinalists are John Andrew Cliburn of Cloverport; Joseph Crafton of Spottsville; Ajit Deshpande of LaGrange; Ethan Gill of Bowling Green; Issac Kresse of Louisville; Nitin Krishna of Corbin; Jon Alex Malone of Pikeville; Patrick Osterhaus of Paducah; and Austin Smith of LaGrange.

To be considered in the rigorous competition for National Merit Scholarships, Semifinalists must advance to the Finalist level of the competition by meeting additional standards and fulfilling several requirements. These include having a record of very high academic performance in college preparatory coursework, submitting SAT scores that confirm PSAT performance, and being fully endorsed and recommended by a high school official.

Since students take the qualifying PSAT exam in October of their junior year of high school, much of the preparation stems from learning opportunities at their home high school during their freshman and sophomore years. The Gatton Academy builds on those experiences to provide students with a robust application and preparation for the SAT, a critical component in becoming a finalist.

“We are extremely proud of the group of students who have attained this honor,” said Dr. Tim Gott, Director of the Gatton Academy. “These students represent the whole state from Paducah to Pikeville.  We share this accolade with each student’s sending school that has invested substantially in the academic success of these outstanding young people.”

About the National Merit Scholarship Program: Established in 1955, National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) is an independent, not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance. NMSC is exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and contributions to NMSC are tax deductible by the donor. NMSC conducts the National Merit® Scholarship Program and the National Achievement® Scholarship Program–annual competitions for recognition and college undergraduate scholarships. Since its founding, NMSC has recognized 2.9 million students and provided over 360,000 scholarships worth more than $1.4 billion. The honors awarded by NMSC to exceptionally able students are viewed as definitive marks of excellence. Recipients of Merit Scholarship® awards, Achievement Scholarship® awards, and corporate-sponsored Special Scholarships have increased the nation’s respect for intellectual accomplishments and have contributed significantly to its talent pool of future leaders.

Contact: Chad Phillips, (270) 745-6565.

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